On his 21st birthday, a Bridgehampton man was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison without the possibility of parole for shooting a Patchogue man to death on Christmas morning 2013 during the botched robbery of a Medford auto shop.
"In 13 years as a judge I've never seen such a cold-blooded act," Judge John Toomey said before imposing the sentence on Brandon Davis in County Court in Riverhead.
Several relatives of the slain man, Taleik Bristel, 19, of Patchogue, made victim impact statements to the judge.
"There will never be another merry Christmas," Mattie Ulusoy of Coram, Bristel's mother, said as another relative in the second row held up a picture of Bristel when he graduated from Patchogue-Medford High School in 2012.
Prosecutor Glenn Kurtzrock said Davis had a history of crime and bad behavior including stabbing a classmate with a pencil as a juvenile. Davis had arrests as an adult for robbery, drug possession, menacing and violation of probation, the prosecutor said.
Kurtzrock argued for life without parole and said he agreed with one of Bristel's relatives, who called Davis, "a monster."
"I know he is a young man, but he has accomplished a lot in the criminal justice system," Kurtzrock said. "What do we do with monsters? We put them in a cage."
Davis, handcuffed and wearing a long-sleeved shirt, smiled at a Newsday photographer as he took his seat in the courtroom. He said only a few words aloud during the proceedings.
"I am innocent," he said when the judge asked him if he had anything to say before sentencing. His lawyer said he would file an appeal.
After deliberating for one day, a jury that heard seven days of testimony convicted Davis in August of one count of first-degree murder, two counts of second-degree murder and first-degree assault.
Kurtzrock said during a previous court proceeding that Davis and another man went into Whitestar MTR, an auto repair shop in Medford, at 3:20 a.m. on Dec. 25, 2013, to rob the shop's owner of money and marijuana.
Inside, Kurtzrock said, the owner, along with Bristel and other friends, was exchanging Christmas presents. Davis, armed with a .38-caliber revolver, shot Bristel in the back of the head, then shot him again as he lay on the ground, Kurtzrock said.
Outside court, Ulusoy said "Christmas is a day of celebration, but for my family it's a day of sadness."