NBC 4 New York
Two men convicted of covering up three murders on Long Island with a fire were each sentenced to life in prison, and then they faced harsh words from the families of the victims. Greg Cergol reports.
The anger and grief of three murder victims' families filled a Suffolk County courtroom as two Central Islip men, convicted in the 2009 killings, were sentenced Wednesday to spend the rest of their lives behind bars.
A Suffolk judge ordered Hasan Vaughan, 36, to serve life without parole. Thomas Singletary, 36, was sentenced to 104 years to life in prison.
"You took my son's life. I hate you," said Yolanda DeJesus, mother of murder victim Luis Calixto, Jr., 19.
"I hope you rot in hell," added Charles Holder, stepfather of Katrice and Mykier Daniels, two sisters who were also killed.
The trio had been tortured, stabbed and shot in a Central Islip home before their home was set on fire to cover up the crime, prosecutors said.
Two of Mykier Daniel's children, ages 2 and 6, barely escaped the flames.
The motive, prosecutors said, was payback. Before the murders, Calixto and Katrice Daniels, who was Vaughan's girlfriend, burglarized Vaughan's home, taking a laptop computer, jewelry and possibly drugs.
"This is probably one of the most horrific crime scenes I've come across," said veteran prosecutor Robert Biancavilla.
"It was an act of evil."
In a rambling statement to the judge, Hasan Vaughan maintained his innocence, criticizing both the judge and prosecutor and claiming jurors were coerced into convicting him.
"If you think I was convicted by evidence, I would say you're mistaken," Vaughan said. "The deck was stacked against me. We received a trial that was not fair."
Judge James Hudson dismissed Vaughan's claims as "fantasy." Jurors from the case who had come to watch the sentencing echoed the judge's words.
"Justice was done," said juror Linda LaRock.
"He's grasping at straws that aren't there," added juror Bill Tappin. "He's a monster, like they said in court."
Vaughan's attorney, William Keahon refused to comment.
In his statement before sentencing, Singletary also denied any connection to the murders.
"I was in the wrong place at the wrong time," said Singletary. "I am not responsible for their deaths."
Both Singletary and Vaughan vow to appeal.
Yolanda DeJesus promised to visit the men in prison to remind them of what they had taken from her.
"This was not just murder, it was butchery, driven by greed," judge James Hudson said to the convicted killers..
"Shame on you."