Lt. John Finn ... News

Cop's killer sentenced amid tears to life in prison ... August 19, 2004
Lt. John Finn named New York State Officer of the Year ... July 26, 2004
Accused cop killer expected to plead guilty ... July 6, 2004
Post office to be named for Finn ... July 6, 2004
Fallen Albany police officer honored ... June 18, 2004
DA to seek the death penalty ... April 15, 2004
Everett indicted on murder charges ... April 7, 2004
Emotional service for Lt. John Finn ... February 22, 2004
Statement read to officers from Finn family ... February 12, 2004
Lt. John Finn has died ... February 12, 2004
Officer shot in Albany ... December 25, 2003

Cop's killer sentenced amid tears to life in prison

'John Finn was a good and decent man'
Cop's killer sentenced amid tears to life in prison

First published: Thursday, August 19, 2004

Smirking as he was led into the courtroom, cop killer Keshon Everett swaggered on his way to be sentenced to life in prison for the murder of police Lt. John Finn. The 27-year-old Arbor Hill man pleaded guilty in July to shooting the respected 38-year-old city police officer on Dec. 23 as Finn chased a robbery suspect through the South End.

Finn, a 12-year veteran, lived for two months in Albany Medical Center Hospital before he died on Feb. 12, his family at his side.

Dozens of Albany police officers packed the courtroom Wednesday, some sobbing silently into their hands as William Finn told how his vibrant, fun-loving younger brother had been reduced to an image in a photo album. The loss to his widow, Maura McNulty-Finn, and their two young daughters is unimaginable, he said.

"As for my mother and father?" Finn said, addressing the defense table where Everett sat, surrounded by armed court officers. "They stood at John's bedside for 51 days praying for the miracle we all hoped would come, and then held his hand as he died."

"From my parents, Mr. Everett has taken joy," he said.

Finn struggled to imagine his brother's fear and sorrow as bullets ripped into his body just 40 minutes before he was to celebrate Christmas with his family. He was wistful as he described the old age he would never know with the brother he called his best friend.

"I had a dream I was sitting in a small boat on a lake fishing, and John was with me," he said, smiling slightly. "We were in our 70s, and laughing and reminiscing about family get-togethers and how things had changed. Then he looked me right in the eye and said, 'Do you remember Keshon Everett?' And as he did, his face started to fade away. And I was suddenly an old man, alone on a lake. And then I woke up."

Finn's killing has had an impact unlike anything he's seen in 20 years in the criminal justice system, Albany County District Attorney Paul Clyne said.

"John Finn was a good and decent man and, in my opinion, one of the finest representatives of the Albany Police Department ever to put on a badge," Clyne said. He then said of Everett: "I've asked for the maximum on many occasions because this man deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison."

Clyne initially sought the death penalty, but a June 24 Court of Appeals ruling declared part of the statute unconstitutional. Everett was then able to plead guilty to first-degree murder.

On Wednesday he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole plus 15 years on another weapons possession count.

All eyes were on Everett as Albany County Judge Thomas A. Breslin asked him if he wished to be heard.

"Nope," he replied.

So Breslin moved on.

"This sentence reflects a hero taken from us ... and I do acknowledge the loss of an incredibly wonderful human being," Breslin said, again asking if there was anything Everett wanted to say.

Following a long, silent stare, Everett said, "No."

After the hearing, McNulty-Finn offered brief thanks to the city police and fire departments for their support of her family.

"While it is a chapter, this doesn't close the book," she said. "John's legacy should evoke appreciation for police officers everywhere."

Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings and Police Chief James Turley joined at least four dozen police officers from Albany and other departments who waited in the hallway outside the court. Few could summon up much to say, yet none seemed willing to leave.

As he watched Everett being led from court, one veteran detective found he could say nothing about justice. He simply shook his head slightly and gazed intently at the ceiling to keep pools of tears from spilling down his cheeks.

Everett was taken directly from the courthouse after sentencing for processing at the Downstate Correctional Facility in Fishkill, Dutchess County. Sheriff Jim Campbell said Everett had been kept in high-security special housing because of his bad behavior.

Everett's cell at the county jail was monitored by surveillance cameras, and specially trained officers were called in when he had to be moved for court appearances or medical treatment. But despite the stepped-up security, Campbell said Everett resisted authority and was combative and defiant. Last week he bit a guard.

When he pleaded guilty in May, Everett -- known on the street as "Key Black" -- claimed he'd been drinking cognac and taking Ecstasy before going for a walk in the area of South Pearl Street, where Albany police were searching for a man who had just held up a convenience store. The former federal convict said that when he saw police officers coming at him with guns drawn, he drew his own 9 mm semiautomatic pistol and ducked into an alley.

Later, on Trinity Place, he encountered Finn.

Everett fired 12 shots in the ensuing gun battle, including three that hit Finn.

Finn was able to shoot back, hitting Everett four times.

After the hearing, Clyne described Everett as an angry man with no regard for anyone but himself: "He carried a handgun because he could and then made a choice to take the life of a police officer. I don't know if anyone could say the sentence imposed was unjust."

Lt. John Finn named New York State Officer of the Year
Lt. Finn honored as top cop
Updated: 7/26/2004 10:46 PM
By: Capital News 9 web staff

Director of Criminal Justice Chauncey Parker said, "Lt. Finn sacrificed his own life so others may live."

He was killed in the line of duty, but Lt. John Finn's bravery is still being remembered. Governor George Pataki stood in front of Finn's wife and parents Monday at the Capitol, presenting them with an award for New York State Officer of the Year in Finn's honor.

Pataki said, "For the first time, this awarding of Police Officer of the Year is a sad occasion. For the first time, I am making the award to the family of one of our heroes who died performing his service to protect us."

It is the first time an Albany officer has received the distinction posthumously. Lt. Finn was shot Dec. 23 and died February 12. He was rushing to the scene of a robbery in the south end of Albany when he encountered 27-year-old Keshon Everett -- who admitted earlier this month to shooting Finn.

Pataki said, "When the call came and when others were terrified by violence, Lt. Finn did his duty, did his job as he always did. He showed his love for the people of Albany and the people of this state."

Pataki presented a plaque to Finn's widow, Maura McNulty-Finn, and a medal to Finn's 9-year-old daughter Clara. Finn's parents sat nearby, listening to the words of praise for their son.

Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings said, "You can take comfort in the fact that John's kindness, his integrity and his bravery is his legacy to all of us."

Finn was nominated for the award by Police Chief James Turley. Just one such honor is awarded each year to one of 75,000 officers around the state.

Turley said, "John wouldn't have approved of this. John never did anything for recognition. John did things because they were the right things to do."

Keshon Everett pleads guilty
Updated: 7/8/2004 8:26 AM
By: Jessica Schneider

"Keshon Everett is a street kid. He's a thug and his attitude was sort of reflective of the type of guy that he is," District Attorney Paul Clyne said.

Keshon Everett, 27, brought an end to seven agonizing months for the Albany police force and the family of Lt. John Finn by pleading guilty to all 10 counts brought against him.

Chief James Turley of the Albany Police Department said, "Glad is not the word in this whole thing. Glad is not the right word. But I'm happy it's over."

Dozens of Albany cops filled the Albany County Courthouse to hear the plea. The widow of Lt. Finn, Maura McNulty-Finn, was also in the courtroom as the details of December 23 came to light. That was the night her husband was hit with a bullet from Everett's semi-automatic gun.

Mayor Jerry Jennings said, "It's a little bit of closure here, but it's the maximum allowed under the law right now and he took advantage of the court decision."

Everett's plea comes on the heels of a New York Court of Appeals decision that the death penalty is unconstitutional, leaving Everett free to plead guilty.

"He's effectively saved his own life," Clyne said.

Everett showed no remorse and revealed few details about what happened December 23. It did come to light that he had been drinking alcohol and was high on Ecstasy, but no details were revealed about the robbery attempt at 40 1/2 Trinity Place. Clyne said the robbery was the least of their concern.

"We thought it would be a distraction from what is clearly the more significant charge -- and that's the shooting death of John Finn," he said.

Keshon Everett will face life in prison without parole when he is sentenced on August 18 at the Albany County Courthouse.

Full Story can be found at:

Accused cop killer expected to plead guilty
Move would allow Everett to avoid death penalty

By Kumi Tucker
WNYT-TV July 6 - Sources tell NewsChannel 13 that the man accused of killing Albany police Lt. John Finn will plead guilty Wednesday. By doing so, Keshon Everett will avoid the death penalty.

Everett is expected to plead guilty to all the charges against him during a conference at the Albany County Courthouse. If he chooses to do that, there's nothing prosecutors can do to stop him.

Everett is facing first degree murder and nine other charges. He's accused of fatally shooting Finn during a chase after a robbery on Dec. 23. Albany County District Attorney Paul Clyne filed to seek the death penalty at his earliest opportunity.

Then the New York State Court of Appeals ruled one the key provisions of the death penalty law unconstitutional. That means that the case against Everett can go forward, but not as a capital case.

Everett has the absolute right afforded every defendant to plead guilty to all the charges against him. Legal experts say that if he does that now, he will avoid the death penalty.

"There is now a window of opportunity for people who have been charged with murder in the first degree to enter a plea of guilty where the maximum term of imprisonment could be life without parole," explained defense attorney Ray Kelly.

The minimum sentence could be 20 years to life. Sentencing would be up to a judge.

There were rumors Everett would plead guilty on June 13, and police packed the courthouse. But it didn't happen.

The window of opportunity for the defense to avoid the death penalty may be limited.

"If the Legislature comes back to term, and the Legislature enacts a new death penalty statute, you run the risk of potentially reviving the death penalty itself, Kelly said.

This would not be a plea agreement. Everett has the absolute right to a guilty plea to all the charges, and the prosecutor has no input.

"The prosecutor cannot prevent somebody from entering a plea of guilty to a murder one offense.If somebody says, I want to plead guilty as a matter of right under the statute in New York State that provides for that possibility, there's nothing a prosecutor can do to stop it," Kelly explained.

Efforts to reach a spokesman for the Finn family were unsuccessful.

Clyne said he does not feel he should comment or speculate until the case reaches a resolution.

Everett is expected to plead guilty Wednesday, but he also has the right to change his mind up until the moment he enters a plea.

Full Story can be found at:

Post office to be named for Finn
Fallen Albany officer to be honored

By Bill Lambdin
WNYT-TVJuly 6 - A rare honor is planned for the Albany police lieutenant shot late last year in the line of duty. The proposal is to rename the Stuyvesant Plaza post office in the name of Lt. John Finn.

"It will be the Lt. John Finn Post Office as soon as our legislation is passed," Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. announced in front of the building Tuesday.

Neither of the two veteran legislators leading this rare effort expect any trouble getting the name change approved. Schumer and Rep. Michael McNulty, D-Green Island, say it is an appropriate way to memorialize Finn for future generations.

"But I think we sometimes forget the tremendous service and sacrifice of the men and women in uniform who protect our communities on a daily basis," McNulty said.

Finn's widow Maura Finn and his children where on hand for the announcement, as where a number of his fellow Albany officers.

This Post Office branch is physically in the town of Guilderland, although the Post Office uses its own naming system and still calls this Albany. But whether Guilderland or Albany this was a station Finn used and his survivors still do. The sponsoring senator says it is an appropriate choice.

"And I just hope that every time someone enters this post office they remember the sacrifice that he made and the sacrifice that so many others are making to keep our streets safe and to keep our families together," Schumer said.

Full Story can be found at:

Fallen Albany police officer honored

6/18/2004 7:21 AM
By: Capital News 9 web staff

The Albany community felt safer when Lt. John Finn patrolled city streets. In the schools, the police officer was a natural leader. And as a tribute to the man who touched many lives, his name is slated to live on in his honor.

Lieutenant Finn's widow, Maura Finn, accepted a plaque recognizing her late husband's work. The popular officer died in the line of duty from gunshot wounds he sustained just before Christmas last year.

Leonard Crouch of the Albany County Sheriff's Dept. said, "Too often, people, as they're gone, people forget who they are and what they stood for."

The Council on Alcoholism want to make sure people do not forget Lt. Finn. And to do just that, the organization created a new educator position in his name. The job will serve as a living memorial that will continue to promote the substance abuse prevention programs in city schools.

Albany County Executive MIke Breslin said, "He was such an integral part of this program as he was with so many throughout this community."

Crouch said, "It's good to see that people still care, and people are willing to give that extra support to the family and the people in the department who need that support."

Albany Police Chief James Turley said, "I'm sad and proud. I'm proud of what John has done, I'm proud of what John did as a police officer. I'm sad that it's named after his death, and I believe if John had still been alive, this still would have happened because John was that type of man."

DA to seek the death penalty
Updated: 4/15/2004 10:58 AM
By: Capital News 9 web staff

Albany County District Attorney Paul Clyne said he will pursue the death penalty against Keshon Everett, the man who is accused of killing Albany Police Lieutenant John Finn.

Lt. Finn was shot on Dec. 23 after responding to a robbery in Albany's South End. He died on Feb. 12 after spending several weeks at Albany Medical Center.

The capital defense team representing Keshon Everett threw a curve ball Wednesday when they made a request to change the 26-year-old's plea from not guilty to guilty, making him ineligible for the death penalty. After an hour recess, Judge Thomas Breslin said no.

Capital defender Mark Harris said, "It's a legal issue that probably won't end here."

Clyne didn't waste any time letting the court know his decision to pursue the death penalty.

He said, "If there ever was a case where it could or should be pursued, this falls into that category."

The law allows the district attorney 120 days from the time of the arraignment to decide whether or not to pursue the death penalty. Although Clyne has opposed capital punishment in the past, he said this was an open and shut case.

He explained, "Regardless of my personal beliefs on the death penalty, it is a legal decision that has to be made. I think everyone understands, given the nature of this case, why it is a capital case.

Everett is charged with first degree murder and nine other counts involving assault and criminal possession of a weapon. However, he is not charged with robbery.

Clyne said, "It's immaterial as far as I'm concerned. He's not charged with robbery at this point. I don't think it will make a difference whatsoever."

Before Clyne made his decision, he attempted to contact John's widow, Maura. Paul DerOhanessian, attorney and family friend, said she declined to comment.

DerOhanessian said, "At this time she's chosen not to, and she has real respect for the process, just like John and that's her intention right now."

The last time a person was put to death in New York was in the late 1960s. If Everett does get the death penalty, he could remain on death row for several years.

An attorney conference for the case has been scheduled for April 27 in the Albany County Court.

Everett indicted on murder charges
Updated: 4/7/2004 8:12 AM
By: Capital News 9 web staff

Tuesday, as expected, the charges against Keshon Everett were upgraded to first-degree murder. He was indicted on 10 criminal counts, including one count of murder in the first degree, one count of murder in the second degree and one count of aggravated assault on a police officer.

Prosecutors said 26-year-old Everett fired three shots at Lt. Finn after an attempted robbery back on December 23.

Lt. Finn was hospitalized for nearly seven weeks. He passed away in February. Everett will be arraigned on his new charges April 13.

Emotional service for Lt. John Finn
Updated: 2/22/2004 1:14 PM
By: Emily Riemer

With one foot in front of the other, Albany police officers slowly filed into the Pepsi Arena to say goodbye to their fallen brother, Lt. John F. Finn.

Family friend, Paul DerOhannesian said, "Not an ending, but rather a new beginning."

The gathering gave his family and friends a chance to share their memories of a man who touched so many lives.

Maura Finn said, "When I think of John, I think of him remarking about something Clara had said, or laughing about something adorable Molly had done."

John's brother Bill Finn said, "We shared an independent spirit bestowed upon us by our parents, and shared by our siblings. And we needed to do things on our own. For ourselves."

William Finn, John's father said, "His wish would be for all his fellow officers: continue to do your very best. Don't lose your sense of humor. John never lost his."

Through his family's remembrances and stories, a picture emerged of a man who was devoted to his family, who was always ready with a smile or a joke, and a man who served his community to the end.

Lt. Dan Colonno said, "As I stand before you, I know that one person can do that. One person, specifically Lt. John Finn, can make a difference in the community."

Lt. Finn left his mark in Albany not only in the streets where he worked, but also with the men who worked beside him.

P.O. Kevin Flynn of the Albany Police Department said, "Instead of preaching at you, Lt. Finn took an interest to help you learn and grow as a police officer."

A whole section of the arena was filled with public safety officers. Some knew him personally and some did not. But they all understand the sacrifice Finn and his family have made.

Ithaca Police Officer Anthony Scaglione said, "We come together in solidarity. It doesn't matter if an officer on the other side of the world falls in the line of duty. We still feel the loss."

Officers from as far as Maryland came to say goodbye to Lt. John Finn. HIs widow, Maura, told the audience John's death would not be in vain if they lived their life the way he did.

Assemblyman Paul Tonko said, "A time for everyone to heal as a community. And so his death and his life will not be in vain, and certainly he brought that all into focus."

Every speaker praised Lt. Finn's life and his work. But his godson, Tyler, may have said it best.

"John is not gone. John will always be with us. Not physically but in our hearts and minds," he said.

Statement read to officers from Finn family
2/12/2004 5:12 PM
By: Capital News 9 web staff

At about 3:40 p.m. Thursday, members of the Albany Police Department read the following message to all headquarters staff, and at all stations:

To All Police Officers:

This afternoon this city lost one of their own. John Finn gave his life doing the job that he loved. He devoted his life doing the job that he loved. He devoted his life to this community and to this brotherhood and died a true hero. Throughout the ordeal, we have been sustained by the love and support of this incredible group of men and women. As you head out to work tonight and in the days and weeks to come, please keep John in your thoughts and know that you carry with you the inexpressible appreciation of this family. You are heroes all.

Thanks and God Bless,

Maura McNulty Finn and the Finn and McNulty Families

Lt. John Finn has died
Updated: 2/12/2004 7:51 PM

By: Capital News 9 web staff

The Albany police community is mourning the loss of one of its own. Lieutenant John Finn died at the age of 37. The husband and father of two was shot while pursuing a robbery suspect December 23.

Lt. Finn's condition worsened Wednesday night, and he was taken off life support Thursday afternoon. His wife Maura issued a letter to the police department.

At the Pepsi Arena, the Siena Saints and the Pepsi teamed up with the Red Cross and the Albany Police Department for a blood drive in honor of the fallen officer.

Keshon Everett, 27,has been charged in the shooting of Lt. Finn.

He was originally charged with attempted murder, assault, and criminal use of a firearm. Those charges are now likely to change. He's being held without bail until his trial.

Officer shot in Albany
12/24/2003 10:02 AM
By: Elizabeth Hur

An Albany family will spend Christmas by the bedside of a critically injured police officer.

Lieutenant John Finn is still listed in critical condition at Albany Medical Center. Officials said it took nine hours of surgery and nearly 50 units of blood to stablize him.

Finn is the 15 year veteran who was shot twice while chasing robbery suspects late Tuesday night.

One of the suspects, Keyshon Everett, was also shot.

But police say his injuries do not appear to be life threatening.

If there is a positive to take away from this tragedy, health officials said it's the outpouring of support they saw at area blood banks. Donation centers were packed with officers from all over the Capital Region, hoping to help one of their own.

The American Red Cross calls it a tragedy that turned into a triumph.

Steven Thomas said, "We like to maintain a five to seven day supply. We were at less than three days when we started today, which is a good example when we have a tragedy like this, there needs to be blood on the shelf right then and there when emergency happens."

"We let them know we were having a drive today and they said we're going to have people come down. Within 20 minutes, they were coming down in dozens," said Karena Park.

Seventy-five units of blood in total were collected, more than 30 volunteers registered to donate blood later this weekend.

Paula Fuda said, "What I saw today was the community coming together for one of their own and I saw the Red Cross employees come together."

At a press conference Wednesday, colleagues of Lt. John Finn had nothing but praise for Finn's work on the force with the Albany Police Department for the past 15 years.

Chief Bob Wolfgang said, "He's certainly well respected in the community, he's a wonderful ambassador for the city and the police department."

Jack Nielson said, "Everyone who knows John Finn knows that he's a bright, articulate, witty man, that he's a tremendous father."

While authorities continue to piece together exactly what happened late Tuesday night, they do know one thing for certain--the weapon of choice used by the suspect, Keshon Everett. It was a semi-automatic machine pistol.

Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings said incidents like these only confirm the need for better gun control.

Jennings said, "I'm a strong proponent of doing whatever we have to do to get the message out that if you violate the laws relative to carrying an illegal weapon then you should go to jail."