A New Jersey man convicted of the murder of a retired New York City firefighter was sentenced to 45 years in prison.
Conrad Sipa, 56, of Colts Neck, was convicted in April of murder, a weapons offense, hindering apprehension and evidence-tampering in the death of Richard Doody, 60, a retired 29-year veteran of the FDNY from Staten Island.
Prosecutors said he used a knife, a golf club and a lamp in to kill Doody in November 2015. Defense attorneys argued that Sipa was defending himself against an intoxicated and belligerent Doody, the best man at his wedding.
Superior Court Judge Rochelle Gizinski said Sipa beat his friend with a ceramic lamp until it broke, then slashed his throat with a knife, leaving him to drown in his own blood. Gizinsk said Friday there wasn't "one scintilla of evidence" to justify what she called a "brutal murder."
Assistant Ocean County Prosecutor Meghan O'Neill argued for a life term, saying "If this is what the defendant can do to his best friend, what is he capable of doing to a stranger?"
Maureen Fanning, a sister of the victim who works as a teacher in New York City, said when her brother needed rescue "no one who cared about him was there to save him."
Virginia Murray, Doody's widow, said her husband was enjoying retirement, and she couldn't wait to be with him on the weekends.
"Just having someone ripped from your life without getting to say goodbye is a tragedy unto itself," she said. "... I have received a life sentence." she later added.
Sipa called the victim not merely a friend but "a confidante a mentor, a brother" he missed every day.
"I am not a violent man, I did not commit murder. I acted in self-defense," he said. The judge turned down a defense request for a new trial and also rejected a call for a 30-year term.
Many attending wore FDNY T-shirts with "The Dood" on the back beneath a 2008 quote from Doody in the Staten Island Advance following the rescue of a 260-pound football player from a car wreck: "We do what we do out of love for what we do."
The judge imposed 40 years on the murder and weapons charges and a consecutive five-year term for hindering apprehension.