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Ex-cop and former prison cellmate of Jeffrey Epstein sentenced to life in prison for murder of 4 men

By Maria Sole Campinoti and Lauren Rapp, CNN

(CNN) — A former New York police officer and former cellmate of disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein was sentenced to life in prison for murdering four men, prosecutors said.

Nicholas Tartaglione was sentenced Monday to four consecutive life sentences for the 2016 kidnappings and killings of Martin Luna, Miguel Luna, Urbano Santiago and Hector Gutierrez, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams, said in a news release.

Tartaglione, who was described by Williams as “a former police officer-turned drug dealer,” was convicted in April 2023 of 11 counts of murder, four counts of kidnapping resulting in death, one count of kidnapping conspiracy and one count of narcotics conspiracy.

“Unfortunately, the life sentences were mandatory given the convictions at trial,” Inga Parsons, lead attorney for Tartaglione, said in a statement to CNN. “We are appealing and will continue to fight to show Nick’s innocence.”

Tartaglione shared a prison cell with Epstein at the federal Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City and had been moved before Epstein’s suicide in August 2019, CNN previously reported.

The former officer was one of the first people FBI agents sought to interview after Epstein was found dead in the special housing unit of the facility.

According to prosecutors, Tartaglione suspected Martin Luna had stolen money from him and planned to confront him during an in-person meeting, to which Martin Luna brought along his nephews, Miguel Luna and Santiago, and his family friend Gutierrez.

During the meeting, which turned out to be a “deadly trap,” Tartaglione tortured Martin Luna and then forced one of his nephews to watch as he strangled him to death with a zip-tie, according to a statement from Williams following the conviction.

Tartaglione and two of his associates then brought Miguel Luna, Santiago and Gutierrez to a remote wooded location, forced them to kneel and fatally shot them in the back of the head before burying their bodies in a mass grave, the statement said.

“Nicholas Tartaglione brutally and senselessly murdered Martin Luna over money, and then ruthlessly executed Urbano Santiago, Miguel Luna, and Hector Gutierrez simply because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Williams said a news release after the sentencing.

CNN’s Emma Tucker and Sabrina Souza contributed to this report.

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