Posted March 21, 2008 –The Black man who shot to death a White teen who showed up at his door in the middle of the night with an angry mob will spend the next two to four years in prison, a judge ruled Wednesday.
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John White, who was convicted in December of killing 17-year-old Daniel Cicciaro, testified that he had flashbacks of lynchings when the teen and his posse knocked on the door of his Long Island, N.Y., home demanding to see his son, who they said had disrespected a female friend. But Cicciaro’s family was outraged at what they said was a light sentence for a heinous crime.
"Nice message it sends to society that as long as you're Black and there's a problem at the end of your driveway you can grab an illegal handgun and shoot someone in the face and get away with it,'' an infuriated Daniel Cicciaro Sr. said after the sentencing. "Well let's see what happens when Aaron White gets shot and see how the laws are,'' Cicciaro said, referring to White's teenage son.
White’s attorneys said the comments appeared to be a threat and demanded an investigation. White, 54, could have been sentenced to up to 15 years for shooting the youth in August 2006.
Shackled and led away by police, White expressed sadness about the death.
“I've always remained remorseful about this incident,'' said White, who cried during the trial, and has maintained that the gun went off accidentally. His attorneys filed an appeal immediately after the sentence was rendered. Bail was set at $200,000.
The courtroom was packed on Wednesday, and more than a dozen police officers were on hand to maintain order following the racially heated court proceedings. White said that when Daniel Cicciaro and several angry White teenagers appeared on his doorstep late at night, he remembered how his grandfather left Alabama in the darkness of night in the 1920s after the Ku Klux Klan torched his business.
Police reported that the youth was legally intoxicated.
White said Aaron, 19, woke him at 11 p.m. to say a mob was there, blaming him for threatening a teenage girl, charges which were later refuted. Suffolk County Court Judge Barbara Kahn said it would be wrong to interpret her sentence “as a measure of the value of the life of Daniel Cicciaro.'' She said that “while Mr. White may be the only individual who bears criminal responsibility ... there are moral accessories in the death of Daniel Cicciaro,'' the judge said, referring to his friends who joined him at White’s home that fateful night.
“They did not hold the gun; they did not pull the trigger; but they share responsibility. Vengeance is not a proper basis for a penal sanction.”
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