Electrician gets maximum sentence for millionaire's murder
Convicted killer tells victims' kids, 'I didn't kill your father'
By John Springer
RIVERHEAD, New York (Court TV) -- Calling himself a "victim of the media and circumstance," a Long Island electrician at the heart of a sensational murder case told the children of the millionaire he was convicted of killing that he will devote his life to proving his innocence.
"I never lied to you two," Daniel Pelosi told 15-year-old twins Alexa and Grego Ammon at his sentencing. "I am telling you to your face: I didn't kill your father. You know that."
Pelosi, 43, was sentenced to the maximum penalty of 25 years to life in prison for the October 21, 2001, beating death of financier Ted Ammon. A successful businessman and chairman of Jazz at Lincoln Center, Ammon was attacked as he slept in his East Hampton beach home.
Three months after the killing, Pelosi married Ammon's widow, Generosa. Her death from breast cancer in 2003 left Alexa and Grego without a parent for the second time in their young lives.
Given the brutal nature of the murder, Pelosi's checkered past and the sheer greed that provided the motive for the killings, there was little doubt among those packed in Judge Robert Doyle's courtroom that the defendant was getting the maximum sentence.
Pelosi showed no emotion when prosecutor Janet Albertson called him a "cowardly," dangerous killer. He also did not react when Doyle referred to him as a "monster" -- a reference to testimony that Pelosi confessed to a girlfriend that he killed Ammon because a monster lived inside him.
Pelosi clearly was uncomfortable, however, as Grego and Alexa Ammon addressed him and the court.
"I'm devastated that the man I trusted the most murdered my father," Grego said. "I've tried hard to forgive you, but I kept thinking about the way you murdered my father."
"I loved you, Danny, I really did," Grego continued. "I looked up to you like a father ... I just hope God can forgive you, because I certainly won't."
Barely audible and speaking rapidly, Alexa had to be consoled by the prosecutor as she read her prepared statement in court.
"My father was a great man ... who I loved dearly," she began. "My heart drops when I think he won't be able to watch my brother and I grow up."
Addressing Pelosi, Alexa said the defendant stole "my childhood" and forced her and her brother to deal with things that most people never have to deal with.
"I hope he rots away in prison because he deserves nothing better," Alexa said just before sitting down.
After Pelosi's lawyer informed the court that he was not in a position to ask for leniency for an innocent man, the convicted killer quickly turned to address Ammon's children. A court officer pressed his chest to the back of Pelosi, who remained handcuffed throughout the 60-minute proceeding.
"You know how Mom was. You all know the truth here. It will all come out," Pelosi said.
"Mom" was a reference to Generosa Ammon. Although he did not elaborate, Pelosi appeared to be echoing a defense suggestion during his trial that Generosa Ammon had more motives to kill Ammon and even less of an alibi than the one Pelosi offered the jury.
The defense began a Generosa-could-have-done-it strategy midway through the trial, after prosecutors poked large holes in a claim that an uncollected hair visible in crime scene photos could have been left by a gay lover of Ted Ammon.
Jurors learned that the hair was not collected, according to police reports, because it was determined that the hair was actually growing from Ammon's body.
"I feel they made an error," Pelosi said of the jurors. "I did not kill your father ... I've been the victim of the media and of circumstance. I will not, until the day I die, stop fighting to prove my innocence."
Before Pelosi can begin trying to prove his innocence, he has several other trials on his horizons.
After his murder trial began, prosecutors indicted Pelosi on charges he tried to hire an inmate to silence witnesses and influence the jury. He also has a pending assault charge in Hawaii, where he allegedly punched an employee on a cruise ship.
Since his conviction, Pelosi has formally withdrawn his legal challenge to Generosa Ammon's will, which all but cut him out of the $60 million estate she inherited when Ted Ammon was murdered. Pelosi received $2 million in a postnuptial agreement with Generosa, but spent several more million of Ted Ammon's fortune on trips and gifts for family members.
Pelosi's insistence that he was a "victim of the media" sounded odd to reporters covering his sentencing. Several of them received unsolicited, collect phone calls from Pelosi while in the Suffolk County Jail awaiting trial.
"I'd say I'm sorry," Pelosi said before being taken to prison, "but I did nothing to be sorry for."