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Queens man sentenced to 30 years to life for role in Simonsen death in 2019

The Queens man convicted of murder for his role in the 2019 death of Calverton’s Brian Simonsen, an NYPD detective, was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison Thursday, according to the Queens district attorney.

Jagger Freeman, 28, was convicted last month of murder, robbery, assault and other crimes for his role as the lookout in the cell phone store robbery where Det. Simonsen was killed by friendly fire as police responded to the store.

“The defendant orchestrated a string of robberies, the last of which involved an imitation weapon and led to the tragic loss of Det. Brian Simonsen and the wounding of Sgt. Matthew Gorman,” Melinda Katz, the Queens DA, said in a statement. “The jury found the defendant guilty of murder and he will now serve a lengthy time in prison as punishment for his criminal actions.”

Mr. Freeman had been facing up to 40 years to life. He was sentenced before Queens Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Holder, who presided at the the trial that began in May. The jury rendered its verdict after five days of deliberations. The sentencing includes five years of post release supervision.

“We continue to express our condolences to Detective Simonsen’s family and fellow service members,” Ms. Katz said.

Christopher Ransom, who was inside the store and pointed an imitation handgun that appeared to be real to the responding police officers, pleaded guilty in October 2021 to aggravated manslaughter and first-degree robbery and is now serving 33 years in prison followed by five years’ post release supervision.

Det. Simonsen was a Jamesport native who graduated from Riverhead High School and went on to serve 19 years in the NYPD. He was survived by his wife Leanne and mother Linda.

His memory continues to live on in numerous ways, including through the foundation named in his honor. The Det. Brian “Smiles” Simonsen Memorial Foundation holds events such as an upcoming golf outing to provide scholarships to local students and to provide assistance to families and businesses in need.