Man Is Found Not Guilty In Death of Police Officer
By JOHN T. McQUISTO
March 22, 1990
A 26-year-old former convict who was charged with killing a police officer on a Brooklyn street last year was acquitted yesterday of murder.
The suspect, Renaldo Rayside, an illegal alien from Panama, had been charged with first- and second-degree murder for the March 3, 1989, slaying of Officer Robert E. Machate, who was working on a robbery detail in the Flatbush section when he was fatally shot.
While acquitting Mr. Rayside of murder, the 12-member jury found him guilty of two lesser crimes, second-degree escape and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon. The jury deliberated for 10 hours over two days.
Mr. Rayside faces three to seven years in prison on each count when he is sentenced on April 25 by Justice Ronald J. Aiello of State Supreme Court in Brooklyn. He could serve a maximum of 11 years, said Patrick Clark, a spokesman for the Brooklyn District Attorney, Charles J. Hynes. Mr. Clark said Mr. Hynes ''accepted the jury's verdict.'' He said Mr. Hynes also expressed his condolences to the Machate family.
'No! No! No!'
Justice Aiello ordered Mr. Rayside returned to jail, where he has been held since his arrest just hours after Officer Machate's slaying.
Members of Officer Machate's family, who were in the courtroom when the jury delivered its verdict shortly after 7 P.M., reacted with disbelief, court officials said.
The slain officer's mother gasped and began sobbing, and his brother, Thomas, who is also a police officer, jumped to his feet in the back of the courtroom and shouted: ''No! No! No! I can't believe this is happening.'' He was restrained by supporters of the Machate family who quickly led him from the courtroom.
The prosecution had argued that when Officer Machate and his partner, Gustavo Cecchini, 28, stopped Mr. Rayside and another man, Kurt Haneiph, 23, to question them, Mr. Rayside wrestled with Officer Machate, took his .38-caliber pistol and shot him.
But the defense lawyer, Joseph Giannini, argued that Officer Machate was not slain by Mr. Rayside, but by a shot fired by another police officer, possibly Officer Cecchini. Officer Machate, whose gun was never recovered, was killed by a bullet that entered his lower back and was lodged in his chest.
'This Means Nothing'
Mr. Giannini attributed the jury's decision on the murder charge to what he called inconsistences in the prosecution's case during the three-week trial.
The jurors left without commenting on the case.