Terraine Slide, 20, pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter in the death of Carlton Shaw, who was found with his son, then 3, sleeping on his body. Slide had been convicted of murder, but a state appellate court reversed the conviction last year, saying the judge in the case improperly allowed the prosecutor to question Slide about previous arrests.
In return for the plea, state Supreme Court Justice Robert W. Doyle said he would sentence Slide to 25 years in prison. With time served and good behavior, Slide could be free in his mid-30s.
During questioning by Assistant District Attorney Nancy Clifford, Slide said he went to Shaw's house with four friends intending to burglarize it. One of them, Christopher Overton, had a gun, Slide said.
Overton, 18, of East Patchogue, later was one of the teenagers arrested in the hate crime killing of Ecuadorean immigrant Marcelo Lucero in Patchogue.
When they saw Shaw was there with his son, they retreated to the woods briefly, Slide said. When they returned, Slide said he took Overton's gun and shot Shaw. At the trial, Slide said Overton was the shooter.
Shaw's widow, Griselda Amaya, watched the plea with her children, Colleen and Carlton Jr., the boy found with his father's body.
"They miss Daddy a lot," she said of her children. She said she would speak at the sentencing next month.
Amaya, a housekeeper, works three jobs to hang onto the house, as did Shaw, a chef. Clifford said the plea negates the need for a long trial, which would have cost Amaya considerable income while she attended it. Until the killing, Clifford said their life "was a real immigrant success story."
Defense attorney Jason Bassett of Central Islip said the plea gives Slide "a chance at a real life" when he gets out.
He said the likelihood of getting an acquittal at a second murder trial was remote, and parole would have been unlikely with the circumstances of the young boy discovering his father's body.
"There was no way to get away from the fact that he was there," Bassett said. "This was the best of several bad options."