Hasan Vaughan, Thomas Singletary to spend rest of life in prison
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The two men convicted of torturing and slaughtering three people in a Central Islip home before setting it on fire with children inside were sent to prison Wednesday for the rest of their lives.
Suffolk County Court Judge James Hudson sentenced Hasan Vaughan, 36, to life in prison without parole for the deaths of his girlfriend, Katrice Daniels, 31; her sister, Mykier Daniels, 28; and her friend, Louis Calixto Jr., 19, in August 2009. Hudson then sentenced Thomas Singletary, 36, to 100 years to life.
"It was an act of evil, committed by an evil man," Hudson told Vaughan. To Singletary he said: "It was not just murder. This was butchery."
Jurors -- almost all of whom attended Wednesday -- found that Vaughan sought revenge against the three for stealing his laptop and other property, and that he recruited his friend Singletary to help.
Both Central Islip men were convicted last month of three counts of second-degree murder, arson and reckless endangerment. Vaughan also was convicted of first-degree murder. They shot Katrice Daniels, beat and stabbed Calixto, and shot, stabbed and strangled Daniels' sister. Then they poured gasoline through the house, set it on fire and left -- with Mykier Daniels' two young children inside. A neighbor rescued the children -- now 10 and 6.
Relatives of the victims vowed to persevere.
"I believe God has something great planned for us, and you will not break us," wrote Nicky Daniels, the victims' sister, in a statement read at the sentencing by their cousin, Angela Bennett.
Their soft-spoken stepfather, Charles Holder, spoke harshly to Vaughan.
"Hasan, I hope you rot in hell, I really do," he said. "You wanted those kids to burn up and die, but you got burned instead."
Calixto's mother, Yolanda Dejesus, told Vaughan she may visit him in prison just to ensure he never has peace.
Before the sentence was imposed, Vaughan gave a 45-minute speech attacking anyone connected with the case for making him seem guilty. He said police and prosecutors fabricated the case against him. He said he heard Hudson denying him a fair trial, through ductwork in the courthouse. He accused jurors of relying on biased court officers to reach their verdict.
Vaughan said he would have testified, but he was afraid of putting his lengthy criminal history before the jury. He insisted he was stabbed by the real killers, whom he did not name, and escaped the burning house before he could be killed, too.
Hudson dismissed what he called "your fantasy of a trial that never took place."
Assistant District Attorney Robert Biancavilla said Vaughan felt nothing for other people. "To Mr. Vaughan, life was just like a chess game," he said, as he turned toward the defendant. "To Mr. Vaughan, I'd just like to say, 'checkmate.' "
When it was his turn to speak, Singletary said he had no idea what Vaughan was going to do when he brought him to the house, referring to his friend with an obscenity.
"I am the epitome of being at the wrong place at the wrong time," he said, addressing the victims' family. "I never met your loved ones. I'm not responsible for their deaths."
Defense attorneys William Keahon and Daniel Russo told victims' relatives they hoped they find peace. Vaughan's attorney, Keahon, declined to discuss his client's speech.
Holder said he won't allow his life to be ruined.
"Hate just drives you insane," he said. "We will let this go and move on with our lives."