By Patrick Markey
The murder trial of Richard Molloy, the New York police officer accused of killing Derry native and former INLA man Hessy Phelan, has been put back until Nov. 12 as prosecutors continue to prepare evidence and witnesses for trial.
Molloy is accused of shooting Phelan to death inside the Bronx apartment of the officer’s girlfriend in 1996. Phelan, who served 10 years in Northern Ireland’s Maze prison before coming to the United States, died from a single gunshot wound to the head.
Molloy contends that Phelan committed suicide by shooting himself with the officer’s .38 caliber revolver. The prosecution alleges that after Molloy and Phelan argued, Molloy stuck his gun in the Irishman’s face and pulled the trigger. One witness, who was in the next room to the two men, testified that he heard someone with an Irish accent shouting "Go on, go on," just before the fatal shot was fired.
A trial date was scheduled to be set last week, but that decision has been put back while the prosecution team continues to prepare witnesses for the actual trial.
Assistant District Attorney Brian Sullivan must now present the defense with witness names and the dates of the alleged events about which they will testify. Much of that evidence concerns allegations about Molloy’s drunken gunplay and reckless behavior with firearms. A trial judge will then set a date for proceedings to begin.
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Molloy has been charged with second-degree murder and is currently on modified duty with the New York Police Department, which means he has handed in his service weapon and police identification.