Brentwood man beat acquaintance, extorted from victim's father, authorities say
A Brentwood man, who authorities say repeatedly hit an acquaintance over the head with a mallet in the victim's mobile home then extorted cash from the man's father, pleaded not guilty Saturday to charges in the case.
Joseph E. Ferraro, 27, of Mindres Avenue, was charged with two counts of first-degree burglary and one count of second-degree grand larceny, for extortion.
Judge Steven Lotto in First District Court in Central Islip ordered Ferraro held on $150,000 cash or $75,000 bond.
The victim, identified in court documents as Joseph DiGiacomo of Bohemia, was asleep when he was struck, authorities said.
DiGiacomo was treated for a head injury at Southside Hospital in Bay Shore. At his trailer after the court hearing, he said he and Ferraro had worked together as commercial clammers.
Lotto granted an order of protection for the victims.
Ferraro's parents, who were in court, declined to comment.
Harmon Lutzer, Ferraro's court-appointed attorney, said in an interview: "They're allegations at this point. Nothing's been proven."
Ferraro allegedly entered DiGiacomo's home about 8:45 p.m. Friday, striking him in the head with the mallet, then calling the victim's father, identified in court documents as Edmund DiGiacomo, and demanding money he was owed, said Assistant District Attorney Michael Ross.
Ferraro threatened to hurt Joseph DiGiacomo further if he did not receive a large amount of cash, police said.
The father then withdrew $800 from the bank and delivered it to Ferraro's home, authorities said.
Sometime after Ferraro left, the victim's mother arrived and started to take her son to Southside Hospital, but he became ill in the car, and she pulled over. A highway patrol officer spotted them and called for an ambulance.
Suffolk police arrested Ferraro in front of his home at 12:35 a.m. Saturday.He is due back in court on Thursday 31.