Buffalo Police Officer Patricia Parete
BUFFALO, N.Y. - The funeral service for Buffalo Police Officer Patricia Parete was held Wednesday at Trinity Episcopal Church.
Hundreds of law enforcement officers, including her comrades in the Buffalo Police Department, family members and friends, and local dignitaries gathered to honor the service of Officer Patricia Parete. A 21-gun salute and a flyover by the Erie County Sheriff Department Air 1 helicopter followed the memorial service. Flags at City Hall and City Court have been lowered to respect her memory.
Click here to see a photo gallery from Wednesday's ceremony.
Parete died more than six years after she was shot while on duty.
Parete and officer Carl Andolina were fired upon while answering a call on Buffalo's lower west side in December of 2006. A bullet severed Parete's spinal cord, leaving her paralyzed from the neck down. Andolina was also wounded in the attack.
On Monday, the Niagara County Medical Examiner's Office ruled Parete's death a homicide.
Parete's death now raises questions, though, whether her assailant should face a murder charge in the case. Varner Harris Jr. is serving a 30-year to life sentence after pleading guilty to charges of attempted murder, and could now face a charge of murder.
Frank Clark, who was the Erie County District Attorney at the time, said while it's possible, there could be legal issues could make it a difficult case to prosecute.
"The problem in this particular case, is that if the person has already convicted and sentenced, in my opinion, there would be a very strong argument that double jeopardy has attached and would preclude the DA from going back and recharging the person," Clark told WGRZ-TV by telephone from his current home in Arizona.
Current District Attorney Frank Sedita noted as well that a definitive connection would have to be made between what Parete finally succumbed to, and the actual shooting.
And that while it's legally possible to bring a case, Sedita said there might not be much wisdom to it.
WEB EXTRA: Extended Coverage on Officer Parete