SYRACUSE, N.Y. - The real John T. Healy wants everyone to know he's no cop killer.
"I'm just a regular guy," said Healy, 47, of Yardley, Bucks County, who has endured a nightmare over the last two weeks after learning that the man who apparently stole his identity two years ago was charged with - and ultimately convicted of - killing an Upstate New York police officer.
It was bad enough the thief stole $3,500 from his bank accounts, purchased a used Cadillac Escalade under his name, bought car insurance, and even bailed a criminal cohort out of jail - which led to an armed bounty hunter showing up at his doorstep.
Now Healy runs the risk of forever having his name linked with a convicted murderer.
"It's been quite unsettling," Healy said in a telephone interview yesterday.
"It's not so much the money, I've gotten that back. It's the hassle and aggravation, over and over," said Healy, a salesman for Home Depot. "Seeing your name in the paper being charged with murdering a cop is pretty intense."
The man authorities prosecuted under the name John Healy was convicted Monday of second-degree murder for his role in the death of New Hartford Police Officer Joseph Corr following a million-dollar jewelry-store robbery.
Corr, 30, was gunned down in February 2006 behind a convenience store in Kirkland, N.Y., as he chased "Healy" and an accomplice, Walter Richardson, who were running away after their getaway car crashed.
"Healy" was captured at the crash scene and charged with murder because he participated in the crimes that led to Corr's death. Richardson, the suspected gunman, hijacked a tow truck and fled. He was killed the next day in a shoot-out with U.S. marshals in Chester.
Assistant Oneida County District Attorney Kurt Hameline said the defendant was indicted as "John Healy, et al," because a check of his fingerprints turned up approximately 20 different aliases. Prosecutors settled on the name John T. Healy because the suspect had a Pennsylvania driver's license with that name on it, Hameline said.
"We assumed it was a name he made up. We did not know there was a real John T. Healy until after jury selection began," said Hameline, who learned of the real John Healy when he got a call Jan. 10 from Yardley Police Officer William Golden, who was investigating the stolen-identity case.
At that point, Hameline said, prosecutors decided to go ahead with the trial rather than introduce an element of doubt about who the defendant was.
An Associated Press news brief published Jan. 9 in The Inquirer on the trial's opening day, and an AP story published Tuesday on the conviction, identified the defendant as being from Yardley.
The jury convicted the fake Healy after deliberating for just two hours.
"We're still not 100 percent sure who he really is. Toussaint Martin is a name he was using most recently before he was John Healy, but we're not even sure of that one. It didn't make sense to make a motion to change his name if we don't even know if it's the right one," Hameline said.
FBI Special Agent Jerri Williams in Philadelphia said yesterday that the defendant is known to her agency as Toussaint Martin, 38, formerly of Philadelphia. He has been "known to law enforcement for a number of years" and was a suspect in other jewelry-store robberies when he was caught in New York, she said.
If the defendant's identity is firmly established before he is sentenced on March 22, prosecutors will make a motion then to change his name, Hameline said. If not, he will be sentenced as John Healy and prosecutors will ask Judge Michael Dwyer to issue a legal document clarifying the real John T. Healy's identity so he can prove he's not a convicted murderer. "We understand the problems this has created for him, and obviously we're sorry that he's had to suffer these consequences," Hameline said.
Healy suspects his identity was stolen in autumn 2005, when he lived in an apartment in Yardley. He said maintenance men were in his apartment at the time. After they left, his benefits package from his employer - including his Social Security number - was missing, along with one of his checks. He has experienced problems traveling. He said he had to endure lengthy interrogations from customs officials when he returned from a trip to Canada and from ship employees when he came back from a cruise in the Caribbean. Each time, he had to explain his identity had been stolen.
Healy said he was unaware of the murder trial until two weeks ago, when he received calls from local media outlets.