During a racially charge confrontation a black man in New York City shot and killed a white teenager standing at the edge of his yard.
John White, an African-American, was convicted of second-degree manslaughter and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon in the shooting death of Daniel Cicciaro, 17, who was white.
White was serving a sentence of up to four years in prison when Paterson commuted his sentence Thursday.
White had served approximately five months in prison before Paterson allowed his release Thursday, according to Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas J. Spota.
But the move was criticized by prosecutors who helped put White behind bars.
“I strongly believe the governor should have had the decency and the compassion to at least contact the victim’s family to allow them to be heard before commuting the defendant’s sentence,” said Spota, whose office prosecuted White.
The shooting occurred in August 2006 in the Long Island town of Riverhead, after a group of teenagers went to White’s home over a dispute with his 19-year-old son.
White said he was protecting his family from a white lynch mob and the gun discharged accidentally.
Prosecutors said White should have called police instead of deliberately choosing to confront Cicciaro and a group of his friends with a .32-caliber Beretta.
Riverhead police said the incident started with an internet prank sent by another person from the MySpace page of White’s 20-year-old son.
John White was a habitual 911 caller. Often for extremely petty things. Yet that night he walked out of his house with a loaded gun and shot a teenage kid to death without ever dialing 911. He has also made his dislike of white people very clear in media interviews.