RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (AP) A black father was sentenced to two to four years in prison Wednesday for fatally shooting an intoxicated white teenager during a racially charged confrontation with two carloads of young people at the end of his driveway.
The parents of victim Daniel Cicciaro Jr., 17, were irate after learning that John White did not receive the maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.
White, 54, was convicted in December of second-degree manslaughter and a weapons charge.
"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. told reporters while dozens of supporters sobbed nearby.
"Well, let's see what happens when Aaron White gets shot, and see how the laws are," Cicciaro said, referring to White's 19-year-old son.
Defense attorney Frederick Brewington said Cicciaro's remarks appeared to be a threat and demanded an investigation. Prosecutor Thomas Spota said the matter was referred to police, and the Whites were assigned extra protection at their home.
"I've always remained remorseful about this incident," White told the judge.
White was led away in handcuffs, but his attorneys immediately filed an appeal and bail was set at $200,000 late Wednesday, said attorney Paul Gianelli. He was expected to remain jailed overnight.
At the trial, the defense invoked the nation's violent racist past in arguing the shooting was justified, referring to the teenagers as a "lynch mob."
White testified that he was trying to protect his family on a hot August night in 2006 when he got an unregistered pistol from his garage after a group of angry white teenagers turned up at his house to fight his son. He claimed the handgun discharged accidentally, killing Cicciaro.
The conflict was fueled by a bogus Internet posting claiming Aaron White wanted to rape a female friend of one of the white teens.
Cicciaro, who had a blood-alcohol reading above the legal limit for driving, was just 3 inches from the pistol when he was shot in the face, a medical examiner testified.
White said Aaron had awakened him around 11 p.m. to say teens he had feuded with at a party were headed to their house in Miller Place, a predominantly white community on eastern Long Island.
The younger White had left the beer bash after he was suspected of posting threats against a teenage girl at the party; the threats turned out to be bogus.
But when Cicciaro and others heard about what happened, they headed for Miller Place, making cell phone calls to Aaron White.
White, a construction worker, testified that he grew up in Brooklyn hearing stories about how the Ku Klux Klan torched his grandfather's business in Alabama in the 1920s and that he feared a similar attack was about to happen.