The brother of a man sought for the hit-and-run killing of a nun in Water Mill has been released from federal custody after serving 4 months for lying to investigators.
Miguel Ixpec-Chitay, 26, of Riverhead, was arrested in September by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, accused of falsely telling them he hadn't been in contact with his fugitive brother.
Authorities believe Carlos Ixpec-Chitay, 30, fled the country in July after being named a suspect in the death of the nun, Jacqueline Walsh, 59, of Syosset. She was struck by a vehicle while walking, police said.
When questioned by ICE agents, Miguel Ixpec-Chitay said he hadn't heard from his brother, but agents discovered that he had called Carlos or received calls from him 19 times soon after Walsh was killed.
Miguel Ixpec-Chitay was convicted of lying to federal agents in December.
On Thursday, Judge Denis Hurley in federal District Court in Central Islip sentenced him to the 4 months he had already served. Federal guidelines called for a sentence of up to 6 months.
In court papers asking for the time-served sentence, Ixpec-Chitay's attorney, Leonard Lato of Hauppauge, said his client may have been upset and misleading when questioned about his brother because of a 2007 encounter with ICE agents.
Lato said the agents then arrested Ixpec-Chitay on suspicion of being in the country illegally. An immigration judge later threw out the case after finding that the agents had entered and searched Ixpec-Chitay's house without a warrant or the occupants' permission, Lato said.
The agents did not dispute that one of them also hit Ixpec-Chitay three times on the head with a flashlight, according to the attorney.
While the government is appealing the judge's decision, Latos defended the immigration status of his client.
"There is no evidence that he is here illegally, which is why he was released," Lato said last week.
Eastern District federal prosecutor Lara Treinis Gatz declined to comment.
Ixpec-Chitay plans to appeal his conviction on the lying charge because he doesn't want a felony on his record, Lato said.
Meanwhile, the search by federal and local police for his brother in the nun's death is continuing. Authorities believe he initially fled to the West Coast and then to his native Guatemala.