David Laffer, the Medford man accused of four people inside a pharmacy on Father's Day, pleaded guilty to the murders inside a Riverhead courtroom Thursday morning.
Laffer, 33, pleaded guilty to five counts of first-degree murder (with one count for mass murder) and four counts of criminal use of a firearm before Judge James Hudson at Suffolk County Criminal Court. Hudson will sentence Laffer to life in prison without parole during sentencing on Oct. 17.
Laffer's attorney, Eric Naiburg, said Laffer intended to plead guilty from the start to avoid a trial.
"He wished to not go to trial and he was doing this to offer the families of the victims of this violent crime some closure,” Naiburg said in court.
Naiburg also said that the case had no viable defense, as Laffer did not suffer from a mental illness and knew the consequences that await him.
The district attorney has recommended the court sentence Laffer to four consecutive life sentences for each of the murder charges.
John Collins, chief trial prosecutor for the DA, said that the charges represent the most cold blooded robbery/homicide in Suffolk County history.
Prosecutors have said Laffer, 33, staked out Medford's Haven Drugs the night before he opened fire inside the pharmacy on June 19.
Laffer responded affirmatively when asked by Hudson if each aspect of the crime's timeline was committed by him. This includes making the plan with his wife, Melinda Brady, disguising himself, possessing a firearm in his backpack, engaging in conversation with a pharmacist before shooting both employees and killing two customers that were entering the store soon afterward.
During the questioning, some family and friends of the victims were crying or had their head in their hands as the judge recounted the events of the crime.
Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said in June that Laffer killed the four people in the pharmacy, including 17-year-old , in order “to feed an ugly addiction to prescription painkillers.”
"We made a commitment to the families that this man never sees the light of day," Spota said at a press conference after the plea.
Mary Moran, grandmother of victim Jamie Taccetta, said she was relieved to be spared of a trial detailing the gruesome events of that Sunday morning.
"We don’t have to think of my granddaughter the way she died," Moran said outside the courtroom Thursday. "We can remember her the way she lived."
Laffer and Brady, were three days after the shootings at their Medford home. Police recovered 1,000 hydrocodone pills from the upstairs portion of the home on Pitchpine Place.
Brady, 30, pleaded guilty to first-degree robbery Thursday and faces up to 25 years in prison. She will also be sentenced on Oct. 17.
In court Thursday, Brady admitted to planning the robbery with her husband, using her makeup to disguise Laffer, driving Laffer to and picking him up from the scene and sharing in the proceeds (the pills).
Brady responded to each question quietly, at times nodding in the affirmative.
Spota said after the plea that Brady could not be charged with murder as there was no evidence of her awareness that Laffer possessed a handgun.
"I have no admissable evidence that she was aware that he had a gun," Spota said. "It has eluded us for indicting her for the crime of murder."
Spota said that Brady assisted authorities and provided details that would have prevented Laffer from using insanity as a possible defense. Her assistance may reduce her sentence at the discretion of the judge.
"She will get a minimal break," Spota said of Brady. "I intend to ask the prosecutors and they will ask the judge that she receive very close to the maximum period of 25 years."
Brady, who grew up in Sayville, detailed her struggle with prescription drugs on a wedding over the past few years. The murders were captured on video surveillance cameras in the pharmacy.