The widow of a Hampton Bays man killed in a bar skirmish told a Suffolk judge Wednesday that although she urged authorities to let her husband's killer go free to spare her family a second trial, it didn't lessen her anger or hurt.
Stacey Reister spoke at the sentencing of an unapologetic Anthony Oddone, 31, formerly of Farmingville. He was convicted of first-degree manslaughter for holding Andrew Reister, 40, in a headlock until he lost consciousness in 2008, but the Court of Appeals threw out the conviction in December.
Oddone pleaded guilty last month in a deal urged by Stacey Reister that spares Oddone further prison time. Still, the depth of her anger was unmistakable as she spoke to State Supreme Court Justice C. Randall Hinrichs before the sentence of 5 years, 4 months and 16 days -- the time he spent in prison -- was imposed.
She spoke of the anger she feels not only for the loss of her husband, an off-duty correction officer working as a bouncer at the Publick House in Southampton, but also for the unwanted local fame the killing has forced upon her.
"I'm absolutely furious that the defendant stole my anonymity," she said. "Now I have to justify my decision [about the plea deal] everywhere I go."
Assistant District Attorney Denise Merrifield said she was ready to retry the case, but Reister told her the deal was necessary for the mental health of her children, now 14 and 10, and herself. It was the only way to ensure they remembered Andrew Reister as he lived, rather than how he died, Reister said.
After presenting a "wish list" of things she and her children miss about Andrew Reister, she said she expected an apology from Oddone.
But she got nothing. When Hinrichs asked Oddone if he added anything to say, Oddone said he didn't. Reister called Oddone a profanity from her seat.
"I'm disappointed at this time that you did not take the opportunity to express remorse," Hinrichs told Oddone.
He also told Reister she owed no one an explanation for recommending this plea deal.
"As a parent, I have profound respect for that decision," he told her. "I have no doubt that Andrew Reister's primary concern would be the well-being of his children."
Still, Hinrichs conceded he was uneasy imposing such a light sentence for manslaughter.
"You have to have a little bit of reservation about the sentence I'm about to impose," he said. "Is this a significant response to the crime?"
But that's for him to worry about, he told Stacey Reister, and it's for him to justify.
"There should be no more agonizing about it," he told her. "Just cherish the memory of Mr. Reister."
Afterward, defense attorney Sarita Kedia of Manhattan said that despite her client's silence in court, he did feel sorry for killing Reister.
"Nothing is necessarily perceived the way it is intended," she said.