Ex-N.Y. cop sentenced to life in prison for brutal murder of 4 people

Nicholas Tartaglione, 56, was sentenced to four consecutive life sentences for a quadruple homicide in April 2016. File Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI

June 10 (UPI) -- A former New York police officer-turned drug dealer was sentenced to four consecutive life sentences on Monday for the brutal murder of four men in April 2016.

Nicholas Tartaglione, 56, was convicted by a jury last year on 11 counts murder, four counts of kidnapping resulting in death and out count each of kidnapping conspiracy and narcotics conspiracy.

Tartaglione was a police officer in Westchester County near New York City until he retired and turned to a life of drug dealing.

Prosecutors accused him of murdering Martin Luna, 41, by strangulation and executing Urbano Santiago, 35; Miguel Luna, 25; and Hector Gutierrez, all on April 11, 2016.

"Nicholas Tartaglione brutally and senselessly murdered Martin Luna over money, and then ruthlessly executed Urbano Santiago, Miguel Luna, and Hector Gutierrez simply because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time," U.S. Attorney Damian Williams for the Southern District of New York said Monday in a statement.

Martin Luna was targeted on accusations of owing Tartaglione some $250,000 meant to purchase cocaine.

Prosecutors said Tartaglione conspired to kill Martin Luna. Tartaglione arranged for a meeting with Martin Luna, who unknowingly brought his two cousins, Santiago and Miguel Luna, and family friend Gutierrez.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York described in a statement following Tartaglione's conviction in April 2023 as "pure torture."

Tartaglione then strangled Martin Luna to death with zip ties and forced one of his victim's nephews to watch. After, Santiago, Miguel Luna and Gutierrez were driven to a remote wooded area where they were forced to kneel and were executed. They were shot in the back of their heads before buried in a mass grave that was not located until December 2016.

In handing down his sentence Monday, Judge Kenneth Karas called Tartaglione a "monster," according to the Justice Department.

"Today's sentence of four consecutive life terms justly reflects the pain and suffering each victim underwent at Tartaglione's hands," Williams said. "I hope that this outcome brings some measure of closure to the victims' families and to their community."