Black Father Jailed in Slaying of White Teen Released Early

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.

    A man convicted of fatally shooting a teenager outside his Long Island home in what became a racially charged case was released from prison Thursday after Gov. David A. Paterson commuted his sentence.

    John White, a black father from Miller Place, Long Island, was jailed last July. His sentenced was commuted to "time served" by Gov. David Paterson on Thursday. "The commutation is conditioned upon Mr. White not engaging in subsequent violation of law," Paterson said.

    White was convicted in 2007 of second-degree manslaughter and criminal possession of a weapon.

    White was supposed to serve about two years in what became a racially charged case over the shooting of 17-year-old Daniel Cicciaro, who 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.

    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.

    "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.