The former key witness in the Bensonhurst racial slaying who backed out of a deal to cooperate with prosecutors on Friday was spared any additional prison time for his role.
State Supreme Court Justice Thaddeus Owens gave John Vento one and one-third to four years for his conviction last month on riot charges in the August 1989 attack on Yusuf Hawkins. But he ruled that the penalty was to run concurrently with his earlier sentence in the case.Vento, 22, is serving two and two-thirds to eight years in prison for his conviction last summer on two counts of unlawful imprisonment and four counts of menacing.
Hawkins, 16, was slain when he and three friends, all black, crossed paths with a mob of bat-wielding whites on a street in Brooklyn's Bensonhurst neighborhood.
Joseph Serrano, 21, also found guilty in the attack, was sentenced Friday to 300 hours of community service, three years' probation and a $1,000 fine. He was convicted last month of the misdemeanor crime of criminal possession of a weapon, a baseball bat, and faced up to a year in jail.
Hawkins' parents had no comment on Owens' sentencing. Their adviser, the Rev. Al Sharpton, complained it was too lenient and promised to organize a protest march through mostly white Bensonhurst Saturday.