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Fugitive who fatally shot NYPD officer caught 20 years later in Fla.

NYPD are praising Fla. LE following the arrest of a fugitive accused of killing an off-duty officer 20 years ago

Teresa Stepzinski
The Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The New York City police commissioner is praising Jacksonville and federal law enforcement authorities following their arrest of a fugitive accused of killing an off-duty police officer 20 years ago.

Lester Wellington Pearson, 43, was taken into custody without incident by deputy U.S. marshals and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office on Friday morning at a home on Broad Creek Lane on the city’s Northwest side. Officers also recovered a handgun when Pearson was arrested.

Pearson is a suspect in the December 1999 shooting death of NYPD Officer Vincent Ling stemming from a dispute. Ling was paralyzed in the shooting and subsequently died, according to New York news media reports at the time.

NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill tweeted his appreciation Sunday for Pearson’s arrest.

Pearson was being held without bail on the New York police detainer warrant stemming from Ling’s death. He also faces local charges of possession of a weapon or ammunition by a felon from another state and a misdemeanor battery charge. His bail totals $40,000 on those two charges, Sheriff’s Office records show.

Sunday, two neighbors who declined to give their names said Pearson didn’t interact with them, or other residents that they knew of. They said they didn’t even know his name.

Booked into Duval County jail at 10:39 a.m. Friday, Pearson’s next Duval court date is March 29, according to Sheriff’s Office records.

Law enforcement authorities said it was unclear how long Pearson has been living in Jacksonville. However, he used the alias Michael Davis, and was known in the local rap community by the stage name Monsta Kodi, they said.

Duval County court records show a person with Pearson’s name and birth date was involved in three cases: a divorce this year, a misdemeanor battery charge in 2005, and a 1999 misdemeanor domestic battery charge that was dismissed.

Pearson also is wanted in Louisiana on charges of battery on a law enforcement officer and possession of marijuana, Times-Union news partner First Coast News reported.

That charge apparently stems from a 2005 case. Pearson is accused of attacking an officer while being interviewed after Louisiana State Police arrested him and seized 100 pounds of marijuana, the New York Post reported Sunday.


©2019 The Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville, Fla.)