Wednesday, December 20, 2000

Cops acquitted in father-son shooting after short jury deliberation

WHITBY, Ont. (CP) — Three police officers were acquitted of all charges Tuesday in a double shooting almost two years ago that left a man dead and his son seriously wounded.

The officers were found not guilty of crimes ranging from attempted murder to careless use of a firearm after an eight-man, four-woman jury deliberated for just over a day following the six-week trial. York Const. Randy Martin, 38, was charged with second-degree murder in the shooting of Tony Romagnuolo, 44, the night of Dec. 28, 1998.

"He's delighted, relieved and gratified," said Martin's lawyer, David Humphrey, adding his client acted with "complete justification."

"He survived an attempt to strip his handgun off his duty belt and got charged for it. I'm relieved that it's over for Mike. It's been an emotionally draining experience but the jury got the right result, definitely."

Durham Const. Al Robins, 51, faced charges of aggravated assault and shooting with intent to wound after Rocco Romagnuolo, then 17, was shot once.

York Const. Mike Hoskin, 41, was charged with assault with a weapon and careless use of a firearm related to his struggle with Enzo Romagnuolo, 20 at the time.

The police and Romagnuolos clashed outside the family's Sunderland, Ont., home as Hoskin attempted to arrest Enzo for threatening to break his legs eight days earlier.

The jury heard several conflicting versions of what transpired that night. The Romagnuolos testified the officers pulled their guns and began shooting during fistfights.

Martin admitted shooting Tony four times, saying his own life hung in the balance as he fought for control of his gun. Robins said he shot Rocco to prevent the teen from helping his father and gaining control of Martin's gun.

Jurors weren't told that it wasn't the first time Martin had shot a man.

Six years ago, he fired his gun at an armed man and was later acquitted in that shooting too. The man was later handed a 15-month jail term for pointing his gun at Martin and another officer.

Toronto Police clippings… [Fiona Stewart]

Created: December 20, 2000
Last modified: December 20, 2000
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