PITTSBURG, Calif. -- A 20-year-old man convicted of murdering a Pittsburg police officer railed against police brutality and his mother pleaded for leniency before he was sentenced Thursday to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Andrew Moffett apologized to the court and the family of slain Officer Larry Lasater after launching into an attack on the justice system and shootings by police officers in Pittsburg and New York, saying it was unfair that police had been exonerated in those cases.
"This is not an admission to nothing," Moffett said. "This is a speech to open up the public's eyes, because it seems like they're sleeping."
Lasater's family blasted Moffett, saying his statements rang hollow because he has never shown any remorse for his actions after an April 2005 bank robbery that led to Lasater's shooting death. A second defendant, Alexander Hamilton, was sentenced to death last year for firing the shots that killed the former Marine Corps captain.
"You've really taken no responsibility," Lasater's widow, Jo Ann Lasater, said in Contra Costa County Superior Court in Richmond. "You may have not fired the shots, but your actions that day led to my husband's death."
The couple's son, Cody, was born two months after the officer was killed. "He doesn't understand why he can't touch his father," Jo Ann Lasater said. "Because of your sense of entitlement, my son's life is not what it should be."
Phyllis Loya said the bullets that killed her son also killed "a part of everyone who loved him."
Moffett's mother, Felicia Boissiere, 40, told Judge Laurel Brady that her son deserved a second chance because he wasn't the one who fired the shots.
"It is wrong to send my son to prison for the rest of his life for a murder he did not commit," Boissiere said as Lasater's relatives shook their heads. "It's immoral and it's unconstitutional."
She added, "Andrew is better than the people he connected with. He just got misguided."
Moffett was convicted of murder and other crimes but was not eligible for the death penalty because he was 17 when Lasater was killed.
Under the law, Brady could have sentenced Moffett to 25 years to life in prison. But prosecutor Harold Jewett said Moffett hadn't earned any mercy from the judge. "We do ask this court to throw away the key," Jewett said.
The judge ordered Moffett to spend the rest of his life behind bars, saying the actions he took "were of a very adult nature."
Lasater had been with the Pittsburg Police Department three years when he was shot to death April 23, 2005, as he chased Hamilton and Moffett. The men had just robbed a Wells Fargo branch in a Raley's supermarket in Pittsburg.
The two crashed a stolen getaway car and hid along the Delta de Anza Regional Trail. Lasater came across Moffett in a field but didn't see Hamilton, who was armed with a 9mm Glock semiautomatic pistol and was lying in the brush.
Hamilton ambushed the officer and fired four shots, with the first striking Lasater in the neck. Police arrested Hamilton and recovered his Glock a short time later, and Moffett was found hiding nearby.
Lasater, who attended College Park High School in Pleasant Hill, commanded tanks in the Marine Corps before he became a police officer.
He was declared brain-dead the day after the shooting but was kept on life support so his organs could be donated. Lasater's heart was donated to Lloyd Burton, a retired Redding contractor.
"You've really taken no responsibility. You may have not fired the shots, but your actions that day led to my husband's death." Jo Ann Lasater, widow of slain Officer Larry Lasater.