A convicted drug dealer who once bragged about dodging charges for a 1972 cop assassination tried to shave nearly two decades off his sentence by claiming he is too disabled to serve his time, sources told The Post on Thursday.
But Robert Vickers, 67, will not be following in double cop killer Herman Bell’s footsteps to freedom, as the state Department of Corrections rejected his request for a hearing and chose to keep him behind bars.
The denial came three weeks after Bell was granted release by a parole board in a decision that prompted a massive outcry from law enforcement and a lawsuit from the NYPD’s largest union on behalf of one of his victim’s widows. A judge has ruled to keep Bell locked up for now, while the suit plays out.
Vickers, meanwhile, was informed his parole bid was rejected via a letter sent Thursday to Coxsackie Correctional Facility, where he is serving a 21-year stint for a series of upstate heroin sales, officials said.
Vickers has been linked to, but never charged in, the murders of Officers Gregory Foster and Rocco Laurie on the Lower East Side in 1972; Bell was convicted of the 1971 murders of Officers Joseph Piagentini and Waverly Jones in Harlem.
Both Black Liberation Army attacks struck interracial, “salt and pepper” teams of patrolmen from behind, with the terror group boasting it was targeting not white, not black, but “blue.”
While he was under surveillance for heroin trafficking, Vickers advised a confidential informant on how to murder a Manhattan drug dealer, even giving him detailed bomb-making pointers and buying a .22-caliber handgun for the hit, the Manhattan DA’s Office noted in a letter opposing his release.
Vickers was caught on tape admitting to getting in a shootout with cops in April 1971, prosecutors said, bragging of one victim cop, “He got shot in the head . . . boom. Knocked his eye out. He lived.”
He also was caught on tape boasting while his fingerprints showed up on a bomb-making book found near the Piagentini-Jones slay scene, “They couldn’t get me on nothing,” he said, according to the DA’s letter.
The department appeared initially to buy Vickers’ disability argument. “This inmate is suffering from a significant and nonterminal condition,” state Corrections Commissioner Anthony Annucci wrote in a March 14 letter obtained by The Post.
But Corrections turned Vickers down after a deluge of protest letters argued he remains dangerous and has faked disability before.
“The letter merely certifies the inmate’s eligibility for medical parole and is based solely on evaluations conducted by DOCCS medical staff,” Corrections spokesman Thomas Mailey said.
“Further, after receiving new information about the inmate’s extensive prior criminal activity which wasn’t part of his current file, the acting commissioner immediately sent it to the board for their consideration. Simply put, the process worked.”