Central Islip triple homicide case: Judge seals first verdict in triple murder
One set of jurors reached a verdict Monday in a Central Islip triple murder trial, but only they and the judge know what that verdict is.
Since May 3, two juries have been deliberating the charges against Hasan Vaughan and Thomas Singletary, both 36 and of Central Islip. They are charged with first-degree murder, three counts of second-degree murder, second-degree arson and two counts of first-degree reckless endangerment.
They are accused of torturing and killing Vaughan's girlfriend, Katrice Daniels, 31; her sister, Mykier Daniels, 28; and her friend, Louis Calixto Jr., 19; before setting the house on fire with Mykier Daniels' two young children inside. The kids got out and survived.
Suffolk County Court Judge James Hudson had two juries hear the case because portions of the defense cases implicated each other. When Singletary's jury announced it had reached a verdict after more than 34 hours of deliberation over seven days, Hudson said he did not want to risk Vaughan's jury hearing word of Singletary's verdict.
When Singletary's jury came in, Hudson looked at its verdict and sealed it in an envelope.
"Your verdict is sealed temporarily," he told jurors. "Do not reveal your verdict to anyone, not even to your family. You must have no contact whatsoever with the other jury."
Meanwhile, Vaughan's jury continued to talk into the evening. It has heard the charges re-read several times and has asked more than once to know if the victims' DNA was found anywhere other than where their bodies were discovered. It was not.
In his closing argument almost two weeks ago, Vaughan's attorney, William Keahon of Hauppauge, said his client had been burned because he arrived at the house as it exploded in a gasoline fire. Keahon said Vaughan wasn't present for the killings, however, and dismissed the prosecution theory that he was seeking payback against the victims for stealing his computer and credit cards.
Assistant District Attorney Robert Biancavilla told jurors that the only people other than the victims whose DNA was found in the house were Vaughan and Singletary.
If Vaughan had nothing to do with the crime, Biancavilla said he would have called 911, as he did after his laptop was stolen. And he would not have gone 48 miles to a hospital in Brooklyn to get treated under a false name for the second- and third-degree burns covering 60 percent of his body, he said.