Cop killer’s parole dismays Deer Park widow

Posted: Updated:

Friday was an emotional day for the Deer Park widow of slain NYPD officer Joseph Piagentini.

Herman Bell was released from prison Friday after serving 44 years for the ambush killings of two NYPD officers in 1971. Piagentini and NYPD Officer Waverly Jones were lured by a phony 911 call and ambushed by three Black Liberation Army members in Harlem.

“Having him in New York, walking amongst us, is no longer safe,” says Diane Piagentini. “Walked up behind them. They did not have a chance. Waverly was killed instantly and my husband, he put 22 bullets in him. My husband wasn't leaving me, and he begged for his life ... that he didn't wanna go, he had a wife and children.”

MORE: Extended interview with Diane Piagentini about her husband's killer going free

Diane Piagentini and her husband moved to Deer Park back in 1968 and started a family together. They had two daughters just 3 years old and 15 months old when Officer Piagentini was killed.

“My children lost a father,” says Diane Piagentini. “My grandchildren will never see their grandfather. I lost a husband. We were supposed to spend our days together. This man took that all away.”

Since the conviction, Diane Piagentini fought to keep Bell behind bars every year he was up for parole. But this year, on his eighth appearance, the parole board gave Bell a second chance.

“He manipulated the parole board into thinking that he has changed, but his thinking being a member of that Black Liberation Army - that thinking does not change,” she says. “Would you want to live next door to him? No! And shame on the governor for letting this happen.”

Diane Piagentini couldn't be more disappointed, but had this message for Bell:

“From now until he dies he's going to look over his shoulder,” she said. “He will make a mistake and when he makes that mistake we will be there to put him back.”


sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."