Miller Place man who shot teen surrenders, heads to jail

John White, center, leaves his Miller Place home

John White, center, leaves his Miller Place home to surrender at Riverhead Criminal Court, Thursday, to begin serving his prison sentence. (July 8, 2010) (Credit: James Carbone)

Nearly four years after fatally shooting a Selden teenager outside his Miller Place home, John White Thursday surrendered in Suffolk County Court to begin serving his prison sentence.

White's surrender, after state appeals courts refused to throw out his 2007 conviction for second-degree manslaughter and criminal possession of a weapon, reopened festering wounds from a racially charged case that began in August 2006 with an argument between teenagers at a Sound Beach party and ended with the death of Daniel Cicciaro Jr., 17.

His mother, Joanne Cicciaro, said Thursday White's entry to prison was "long in coming" and added that the outcome "shows that no one should bring a gun to the street."

She said "no time" will bring back her son, but she said she was glad White "will serve a consequence."

The teen's father, Daniel Cicciaro Sr., left the courthouse without speaking to reporters.

In his public comments before surrendering, White, 56, told reporters, "I want to thank all the men of faith saved by grace who supported me in coming to an understanding of the system itself."

After White was taken into custody, his wife, Sonia, and the family's supporters angrily denounced Suffolk authorities for failing to prosecute the younger Cicciaro's friends, whom they blamed for instigating the fatal confrontation.

"I don't understand the system," Sonia White told reporters. "I don't understand why my husband is going to . . . [prison] and no one else was."

Robert Clifford, a spokesman for District Attorney Thomas Spota, said police interviews of White's neighbors in 2006 "found no evidence or an independent witness to corroborate [the White family's] allegations, and the defendant, his son and the defendant's wife refused to talk to police following the shooting."

Sonia White said one of her three sons was harassed recently, but she declined to give details. Michael Greys, co-founder of 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, said White's son was harassed by Cicciaro's friends.

A Suffolk police spokesman said police had received "various calls" to the Whites' home since his conviction. They would not elaborate or say whether any investigation had been done.

Police and prosecutors have said Cicciaro's death stemmed from a dispute between him and White's son, Aaron, at a party on Aug. 9, 2006.

After Aaron White returned home, Cicciaro and four friends went to the Whites' house, authorities said. There, John White argued with the boys at the end of his driveway and shot Cicciaro in the face, authorities said. Cicciaro died at John T. Mather Memorial Hospital in Port Jefferson.

Thursday, Joanne Cicciaro said her son "shouldn't have been there, shouldn't have been drinking, but he was 17" and "a 54-year-old man should have called 911."

White shook hands with supporters and hugged family members before he was taken into custody.

The legal proceeding before County Court Judge Barbara Kahn lasted less than a minute. Cicciaro's parents showed no reaction as White was led away by court officers.

With Andrew Strickler

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