An NYPD officer was in court yesterday, being charged with first-degree attempted murder for hiring a hitman to kill his ex-wife. Long Island native 42-year-old Anthony Battisti (pictured), a Queens cop who has been on the force for 17 years, is accused of paying his handyman $5,000 to kill his ex-wife Patricia. Timothy Gersbeck, the 37-year-old handyman from Levittown, was arrested in January for stabbing Patricia Battisti in the neck with a screwdriver multiple times, an attack outside the Battistis Franklin Square house that she survived. Prosecutors say that Anthony Battisti was jealous that his wife had begun dating a NYC firefighter.

Gersbeck's case is sealed because he is cooperating with prosecutors. Officer Battisti, who is being held without bail until his next court appearance Wednesday, was placed by the judge in a separate jail from the handyman because of what's believed to be a request by prosecutors. A lawyer for the accused cop told reporters, "We're talking about a guy who openly committed a crime and then looked for the easiest way out. The easiest way out was to attack a police officer, accuse him of it."

If convicted, Officer Battisti could face life in prison. Yesterday Suffolk County DA Kathleen Rice said, "I'm sickened by this officer's betrayal of the badge." Prosecutor Michael Canty said the people's case was strong and added that the fact that the accused is a cop "makes these charges all the more egregious."