Nathan Barnwell leaves Nassau County Courthouse.

Nathan Barnwell leaves Nassau County Courthouse. Credit: Howard Schnapp

A Baldwin man who fatally shot a former business associate during a 2015 argument apologized to the victim’s family Wednesday, saying he couldn’t turn back time and would live with his actions for the rest of his life.

“There’s no words that can describe the pain that both of our families are feeling,” Nathan Barnwell, 48, told relatives of Winfield Gillespie in Nassau County Court. “ . . . There’s nothing that I can say to change the situation at all.”

Acting State Supreme Court Justice Christopher Quinn then sentenced Barnwell to nine years in prison under an agreement he’d made during the man’s guilty plea to manslaughter in October.

Authorities have said Gillespie, a 39-year-old father of three from Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, died hours after Barnwell shot him in one of his legs on Sept. 5, 2015 as the two argued outside Barnwell’s Woodoak Drive home.

The victim’s widow, Toshieeda Gillespie, told the judge Wednesday she was filled with anger from the loss, which almost paralyzed her at first as she struggled to take on the role of a single mother.

“I have three boys and their father’s not here, for something stupid,” she added.

Barnwell’s attorney, John A. Scarpa Jr., initially had claimed his client acted in self-defense and that a gun Gillespie brought to Barnwell’s home went off as the two men struggled. But eventually Barnwell pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter, the top charge against him.

Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas said in a statement Wednesday the victim’s tragic death resulted from “a petty disagreement combined with access to a loaded handgun,” and she hoped the conviction gave Gillespie’s family “some sense of justice.”

Prosecutors have said Gillespie went to Barnwell’s home to talk about a business transaction after the two had crossed paths at a nearby restaurant. The pair previously did multiple real estate and car deals but had stopped talking several months earlier, according to authorities.

The defense has said Gillespie showed up at Barnwell’s home drunk and accused him of disloyalty, pulling a gun on Barnwell before the weapon fired as the two men struggled over it.

Police have said Barnwell then hid the gun. Scarpa said his client panicked after the shooting and while police found the weapon several blocks from his home, Barnwell didn’t remember doing anything with it.

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