by SAEED SHABAZZ
Special to the AmNews
“What this jury has done is nullify 400 years of history in this country,” stated defense attorney Fred Brewington after a Suffolk County jury of 10 whites, one Latino and one Black convicted John White, 54, of second-degree manslaughter in the killing of a 17-year-old white youth, Daniel Cicciaro, Jr., The conviction came after four days of deliberation.
Brewington argued that Cicciaro was part of a “mob” that had gathered in the White’s front yard on the night of Aug. 9, 2006. The charge carries a sentence of five to 15 years in prison. White was also convicted of criminal possession of an unlicensed weapon, a .32 caliber Baretta pistol.
According to testimony, Cicciaro and his friends confronted White and his son Aaron, who was 19 at the time of the shooting, because of an e-mail message that said young Aaron wanted to rape a 15-year-old white female. It has been revealed that a friend of Aaron’s was actually responsible for the e-mail, which had been sent some nine months before the shooting.
“Thank you God,” said the victim’s mother after the verdict was rendered, adding, “It was the power of prayer—My son is finally vindicated.
During the racially charged trial, the defense produced testimony that the victim used racial epithets, while his family denied that he was a racist.
“It was never about race—It was about a person’s actions and being responsible for those actions,” Cicciaro’s mother told reporters. “They can stop slinging mud at my son’s name and accusing him of all this racism,” Daniel Cicciaro, Sr., told reporters outside of the courtroom.
Brewington called the verdict “disappointing for African Americans.”
“John White and his family were scared to death—a justification for going out [into the front yard] to protect your family,” he said.
Lead prosecutor James Chalifoux, while acknowledging that the teens used epithets, said the trial did not hinge on race, but rather on the rash actions of a quick-tempered man who kept an arsenal in his house in preparation for such a situation. Prosecutors said White, who was originally charged with second-degree murder, which carries a prison term of 25 years, escalated the tensions by wielding a firearm and “deliberately” shooting young Cicciaro. Continue reading
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