Four Years Later, Black Father Jailed in Slaying of White Teen

Racially charged case began with an argument among teens in 2006

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    NBCNewYork.com
    John White enters court during an earlier appearance.

    John White kissed his wife and son one last time; then, the metallic clink of locking handcuffs echoed across the Suffolk county courtroom and officers led the 56 year old away. 

    White, a black father from Miller Place, Long Island, surrendered Thursday morning to finally begin his jail term for the shooting of Daniel Cicciaro, a white teen, in 2006.

    The racially charged case began when Cicciaro was shot in the face after he and several friends appeared outside the White home, threatening White's son and shouting racial epithets.

    Rather than call police, White met the mob with a handgun. He later claimed the Cicciaro shooting was an accident.

    "This day has been long in coming," said Joanne Cicciaro, Daniel's mom. "I prayed for the truth to be heard and it was."

    A Suffolk jury convicted White of manslaughter in 2007 but he remained free on bail while lawyers appealed that verdict.

    A NY appellate court rejected White's appeal in May, saying he should have remained inside his home and called 911. Last week, White's attempt to gain a new trial ended when New York's highest court refused to hear the case.

    "I want to thank all the men of faith that supported me," White said as he entered Court, flanked by his wife, three sons and bodyguards from the Nation of Islam.

    White will now serve two to fours years in prison -- a sentence his wife and supporters called a "high-tech lynching and a miscarriage of justice."

    "I don't understand the justice system," said White's wife, Sonia. "I am trying to comprehend how those teens came to our house and violated our rights and my husband was the only one charged."

    White's supporters insisted race played in role in his prosecution and called on New York Governor Paterson to either commute White's sentence or pardon him.

    "It is unfair that a black man can not defend his own family here in Suffolk county," said A. Hafeez Muhammad, the New York representative of the Nation of Islam.

    "We are enraged by this because if it had been any other family,  this would not be the case."

    "The White family is like the Huxtables," said Michael Greys of 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement, referring to the name of the fictitious black family from NBC's the "Cosby Show." "Look what they did to the Huxtables."

    White's supporters claimed Daniel Cicciaro's friends continue to harass the family and say they have filed complaints with Suffolk police -- a claim police have yet to confirm.

    "We will not tolerate it," said Michael Greys, who called Daniel Cicciaro's father, a "savage" and a "cave man."  Cicciaro, Sr., who has been vocal in the past, left court without comment.

    Nation of Islam bodyguards will protect the White family, said A. Hafeez Muhammad.