James McGoey had robbed 3 pharmacies

A Nassau police cruiser passes Charlie's Family Pharmacy

A Nassau police cruiser passes Charlie's Family Pharmacy Sunday morning as police continue their investigation into the deaths Saturday of a robbery suspect and a federal agent who happened to be in the drugstore at the time. (Jan. 1, 2012) (Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin)

James McGoey spent nearly half of his life behind bars.

McGoey, 43, of Hampton Bays, was shot to death Saturday at a Seaford pharmacy where, police said, he stole money and drugs. Court records show that McGoey was convicted of four robberies, three of which were at pharmacies, in 1990 and again in 2000. He served a total of 20 years before his release in August.

At the time of his death Saturday, McGoey was on parole, which was scheduled to continue until July.

McGoey's uncle, Joseph McGoey of Massapequa, said his nephew was "a wonderful kid who got into the wrong crowd. Life went in the wrong direction."

Records show that James McGoey was arrested in March 1990 for robbing three Brookhaven stores at gunpoint. McGoey and an accomplice robbed the stores using a silver .32-caliber revolver. The men fled with $600 from a cash register in a Feb. 28, 1990, robbery, according to news accounts.

Their take in the second robbery, on March 8, 1990, from a pharmacy in Shirley included $570 and 2,000 pills of brand-name and generic Valium, police said.

In the third holdup, the men stormed the 71-year-old owner of a card and gift shop in Port Jefferson Station and took $645 in Lotto ticket proceeds from a cash register.

An employee of a nearby business provided a description of the suspects' getaway car to police, which led to the arrests of McGoey and his accomplice.

In March of 1991, McGoey was sentenced to six to 18 years at Great Meadow Correctional Facility in Comstock, N.Y. He was released in February 2000 after serving a 10-year sentence, according to New York State prison records.

In April 2001, McGoey was sent back to state prison stemming from his conviction in a 2000 robbery of a Setauket pharmacy at gunpoint. McGoey entered the pharmacy and demanded cash and Valium, according to published news reports.

McGoey was sentenced to 10 years and three months in prison, and left the Attica Correctional Facility in Attica, N.Y., on Aug. 18, records state.

Joseph McGoey said his nephew moved to Hampton Bays last summer and had been working in the construction business in New York City. He said his nephew grew up in Freeport and moved "to the middle of Long Island somewhere" before moving to Hampton Bays.

Joseph said his nephew had a sister Janine, who died in 2004, and has another sister. He said James McGoey's parents live in Hampton Bays.

Bill Markland and Brenda Bailey, both of whom live near McGoey's Hampton Bays home, said they often saw him sitting outside, but their attempts to strike up conversations went nowhere.

"He never talked to anybody," said Bailey, 52.

With James Bernstein

and Paul LaRocco

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