A 19-year-old is going to prison for a decade after throwing bricks off a Uniondale parkway overpass, following a sentencing Monday where prosecutors alleged he also plotted to escape Nassau’s jail using a fake gun he made behind bars.
A jury in May found Andrew Denton of East Meadow and co-defendant Jacob Palant, 21, of Syosset, guilty of leaving a college student with permanent eye scarring after a brick shattered the windshield of the car she was in on the Meadowbrook State Parkway on Dec. 26, 2015. The driver of that car suffered a shoulder injury and a projectile also hit a Jeep, doing about $5,000 in damage.
The panel convicted them of assault, reckless endangerment and criminal mischief charges.
Acting State Supreme Court Justice Meryl Berkowitz told Denton while sentencing him in Nassau County Court that he showed “disregard to life,” and said the victim now suffers from blurred vision and can’t drive at night. She also took Denton’s guilty plea to a prison contraband charge, saying she would punish him next month with a concurrent prison sentence of 2 to 4 years.
Prosecutors said that while in jail, Denton made two “realistic” phony handguns — which included moving barrels and handles made of soap. They said jail witnesses reported he planned to put one to a baby’s head in the visiting area to try to escape.
Prosecutor Stefanie Palma said Denton’s criminal history includes convictions for two pellet gun shootings and another for criminal contempt for threatening to slit his ex-girlfriend’s throat. She also alleged Denton wrote a letter “under the guise of another inmate” threatening to break a different Nassau judge’s neck, but said authorities intercepted the letter before it was sent and never filed charges.
Defense attorney Edward Galison told the judge the fake guns were cardboard, and his client didn’t write the threatening letter. The Mineola attorney also said in court that Denton had a difficult childhood, but earned his G.E.D. in jail and planned to appeal the brick-tossing case conviction. He later scoffed at the jailbreak plan allegations, saying: “It’s hard to point a paper gun at a baby. It’s just nonsense.”
But Executive Assistant District Attorney Maureen McCormick later called Denton a dangerous person, adding: “There is nothing that can be done to protect the public but to remove him from society for as long as possible.”