Former police officer Nicholas Tartaglione, who once shared a cell with disgraced financier and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, is facing life in prison after a jury found him guilty of the gruesome murder of four men in 2015.

“Mr. Tartaglione’s heinous acts represent a broader betrayal, as he was a former police officer who once swore to protect the very community he devastated,” said U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, Damian Williams, in a statement on Thursday.


Tartaglione, who had left law enforcement in pursuit of a career in drug trafficking, reportedly lured Martin Luna, two of his nephews and a family friend, to a bar, Likquid Lounge in Chester, New York, after suspecting that Luna had stolen money from him.


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“What occurred next could only be described as pure terror,” Williams held. According to the prosecution, Tartaglione forced one of Luna’s nephews to watch as he tortured and strangled him to death with a zip tie. Along with his two associates, Tartaglione then took the other three men into the woods, where they were shot and buried in a mass grave.

After his arrest in December 2016, Tartaglione shared a cell with Epstein, and, according to his lawyer at the time, was the one who alerted guards of Epstein’s suicide attempt in 2019. Epstein then claimed to have been assaulted by the former police officer, which prison officials claim to have been in an attempt to avoid being put on suicide watch. Tartaglione denied the assault claims, and the disgraced financier/sex trafficker killed himself less than a month after the incident.

After Tartaglione’s arrest, the authorities continued their investigation, hoping to get his co-conspirators to cooperate in the case against him. One of his accomplices, retired police officer and bodybuilder Gerard Benderoth, shot himself as local police officers and FBI agents pulled his car over in March 2017.

Tartaglione’s other accomplice, bodybuilder and school security guard, Joseph Biggs, who was charged for his role in the murders that June, testified against him in hopes of more lenient sentencing. Biggs testified to have worked with Tartaglione to collect debts from customers who had bought steroids from them in local gyms. He also described how he, along with Tartaglione and Benderoth, had murdered Luna, his nephews and his family friend.

Last year, prosecutors informed that they would not be pursuing a death penalty for Tartaglione, but both Biggs and Tartaglione were charged with 17 counts, including murder, kidnapping, and drugs and weapons charges. According to Tartaglione’s lawyer, he maintains his innocence and will be appealing the verdict.

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