Originally published in Newsday on January 26, 2005
Time and again during his three-month trial for the murder of Theodore Ammon, Daniel Pelosi recalled the loving bond he had forged with Ammon's two children as evidence that he had not romanced their mother, Generosa Ammon, solely for financial gain and could never have killed their father.
Yesterday, Ammon's children stood inside a Riverhead courtroom - for the first time since Pelosi, 42, was convicted of Ammon's murder last month - and told the former electrician from Manorville that they knew he had manipulated them, and that they hoped he would spend the rest of his life in jail.
State Supreme Court Justice Robert Doyle agreed, and imposed the maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison.
"I loved you, Danny, I really did. I looked up to you like a father," Gregory Ammon, 14, said in a soft voice cracked by emotion.
"You knew, Danny, what my sister and I were going through, and you still went on killing my father," Gregory continued. "I'm sorry I believed you, and I should have known better."
Reading from her own letter, Alexa Ammon said: "Mr. Pelosi might have had a nice time for the past couple years spending my parents' money, but that is over now. And, I hope he rots away in prison because he deserves nothing better."
Pelosi, however, did not back away from his assertions of innocence and spoke directly to Ammon's twins.
"Greg and Alexa, I never lied to you guys," he said. "I never lied to you. And, I'm telling you to your face, I did not kill your father, and you know that."
Wearing a dark brown suit, his hands cuffed behind him, Pelosi then suggested, as he had during the trial, that their mother was responsible for the murder.
"You all know what it was like living with mom," said Pelosi, who plans to appeal the conviction. "We all know what we went through. We all know the truth here, and that truth will come out."
In opting for the harshest sentence, Doyle described the calculated way in which Pelosi entered Generosa Ammon's life in 2000, with designs on making his way into her and her husband's multimillion-dollar bank accounts.
Pelosi began dating Generosa Ammon as her 10-year marriage spiraled into a nasty divorce proceeding. In October 2001, Theodore Ammon was beaten to death inside a bedroom of his East Hampton estate.
"The defendant's actions were brutal and cowardly," Assistant District Attorney Janet Albertson said yesterday. "Mr. Ammon was asleep in his bed when he was set upon by the defendant."
Pelosi married Generosa Ammon three months after the murder, and she died of breast cancer in August 2003. Before her death, she and Pelosi signed a $2-million postnuptial agreement. It cut Pelosi out of her $46-million estate but provided sufficient funds for his defense. Pelosi was indicted in Ammon's murder the following March.
"I believe the evidence clearly established, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant's motive to commit this murder was greed when he feared that the flow of money from Ted Ammon was coming to an end," Doyle said.
Alexa Ammon said: "He stole our childhood and innocence, forcing us to deal with things most people don't have to deal with in their lifetime. For Mr. Pelosi, it was always about the money. Just because his life wasn't good enough, he had to come and steal ours away."
In pressing for the maximum sentence, Albertson said Pelosi continued spending Ammon's money until the day he was convicted.
Theodore Ammon's sister, Sandi Williams, of Huntsville, Ala., invoked the Bible as she talked about Pelosi's overpowering greed. "Scripture states that the love of money is the root of all evil," Williams said. "That is surely true for you. You loved money so much that you took the life of my beloved brother, these children's father, so that you could have more of it."
Pelosi will remain in the Suffolk County jail as he faces a bevy of related and unrelated criminal charges.
Pelosi has since withdrawn his claim on Generosa Ammon's estate, which she left to her children.
As relatives and spectators spilled into the hallway after the sentencing, Albertson said that perhaps now that the last piece of the trial was complete, people would stop paying attention to everything Pelosi said.
"I think it's time that we slam the door on Danny Pelosi," she said, "and stop listening to him."
He stole our childhood and innocence, forcing us to deal with things most people don't have to deal with in their lifetime. For Mr. Pelosi, it was always about the money. Just because his life wasn't good enough, he had to come and steal ours away.' - Alexa Ammon, victim's daughter
Scripture states that the love of money is the root of all evil. That is surely true for you. - Sandi Williams, victim's sister
Greg and Alexa, I never lied to you guys ... I'm telling you to your face, I did not kill your father ... I was a victim of the media. I've been a victim of circumstances. - Daniel Pelosi, sentenced for killing Theodore AmmonI loved you, Danny, I really did.
I looked up to you like a father. I've lost mostly every important aspect of my life. You knew, Danny, what my sister and I were going through, and you still went on killing my father. - Gregory Ammon, victim's son