‘Monster’: Ex-Cop Handed Four Life Sentences For Kidnapping, Murdering Four, Feds Say

(Wikimedia Commons/Public/By Chris Potter - Flickr: 3D Judges Gavel, CC BY 2.0,

John Oyewale Contributor
Font Size:

A federal court handed a former Westchester County, New York police officer four consecutive life sentences Monday for allegedly orchestrating the kidnapping and murder of four individuals over a cocaine trafficking conspiracy, federal prosecutors said.

The U.S. District Judge Kenneth M. Karas sentenced Nicholas Tartaglione, 56, of Otisville, for allegedly kidnapping and murdering Martin Luna, Urbano Santiago, Miguel Luna and Hector Gutierrez on April 11, 2016, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of New York said. Tartaglione committed the murders “in and around” the Likquid Lounge, a bar in Chester, according to a court document. He was reportedly found guilty of “11 counts of murder, four counts of kidnapping resulting in death, one count of kidnapping conspiracy, and one count of narcotics conspiracy,” according to the prosecuting office’s statement.

Tartaglione kidnapped, restrained and beat Martin Luna, then 41, for over an hour because he believed Luna “had stolen approximately $250,000 meant for the purchase of cocaine,” the prosecuting office’s statement alleged. Tartaglione was able to kidnap Martin Luna by luring him into a meeting to which the victim unwittingly brought Miguel Luna and Santiago — his two nephews — and Gutierrez, a family friend, according to U.S. Attorney Damian Williams. (RELATED: Cop Arrested For Running Meth Lab Out Of His Home, Authorities Say)

Tartaglione, receiving no response from Martin Luna about where the missing money was, “strangled Martin to death with a zip-tie,” the prosecutors’ allegations continued.

One of the nephews was forced to watch the strangulation, Williams added.

Tartaglione and two other accomplices then transported Miguel Luna, Santiago and Gutierrez “to a remote wooded location, forced them to kneel, and executed them with gunshots to the back of the head,” according to Williams.

The three were killed “because they witnessed Martin’s murder and were in the wrong place at the wrong time,” prosecutors also alleged.

Tartaglione “buried all four victims in a mass grave on his remote property in Otisville,” according to prosecutors. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reportedly found the grave Dec. 2016.

Santiago—Martin’s nephew by marriage—was 35 years old at the time of his death, according to prosecutors. Miguel Luna reportedly was 25 and Gutierrez 43. Many of their family members reportedly witnessed Tartaglione’s trial.

Tartaglione was a former Briarcliff Manor police officer, according to prosecutors. He also was once a cellmate of the disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, ABC News reported.

Judge Karas branded Tartaglione a monster and remorseless, according to the prosecuting office’s statement.

“I didn’t do this and I have the evidence to get me home,” Tartaglione exclusively told News12 Westchester from his Manhattan jail Jun. 6, four days before his sentencing. All four victims were migrants, the outlet reported.

Calling Tartaglione’s actions “reprehensible crimes,” Williams said in part. “Today’s sentence of four consecutive life terms justly reflects the pain and suffering each victim underwent at Tartaglione’s hands. I hope that this outcome brings some measure of closure to the victims’ families and to their community,” according to the prosecuting office’s statement.