Former Det. Kevin Spellman was sentenced in Bronx Criminal Court on March 15 to serve three to nine years in prison.
Mr. Spellman, a Riverdale resident and 22-year veteran of the NYPD, was convicted on Dec. 6 of manslaughter in the second degree, the third highest charge he faced for killing 66-year-old Kingsbridge resident Drane Nikac.
At 6:37 a.m. on Oct. 30, 2009, Ms. Nikac, an Albanian from Montenegro who immigrated to the U.S. more than 15 years ago, crossed Kingsbridge Avenue at West 232nd Street, pushing a cart full of cans she regularly collected from the neighborhood.
In the middle of the crosswalk, Mr. Spellman’s car struck her, throwing her approximately 40 feet through the air. She died shortly afterward.
Mr. Spellman refused a Breathalyzer test on the scene, but after five hours his blood-alcohol content was recorded at 0.21. Beer cans were found in the government-issued Chevy Malibu Mr. Spellman was driving, including one that was open and empty with his DNA on it.
Judge Steven Barrett sentenced Mr. Spellman after two of Ms. Nikac’s granddaughters described how her death shattered their family.
Sara Juncaj said she has been haunted by images from the scene of Ms. Nikac’s death. She urged the judge to send a message that “bottles and badges should not mix.”
Both Sara and Lora Juncaj said Mr. Spellman and his supporters received special treatment and courtesies throughout the course of the trial.
They said that on one occasion, Mr. Spellman was “whisked” past them while they waited on line to enter the courthouse for more than an hour.
“He received special treatment from the NYPD throughout his entire career. Perhaps if he did not get this special treatment as a police officer my mom would be alive today,” Lora Juncaj said while reading a letter on behalf of her mother, Dusta “Justine” Juncaj. “Please, your Honor let the special treatment end.”
Mr. Spellman stood and faced the Nikac family as he publicly apologized in court.