A Brentwood man has been charged with first-degree manslaughter after a fight in which, prosecutors say, he fatally beat an auto repair shop owner outside a Huntington bar early Wednesday.
Suffolk County police responded to a 911 call at 3:17 a.m. and found the victim, Edwin Rivera, 39, of Bay Shore, unconscious outside the bar on Clinton Avenue. He was pronounced dead at Huntington Hospital.
Assistant Suffolk County District Attorney Laura Newcombe said Samuel White, 32, turned himself into authorities and told them he had an altercation with Rivera.
He told police that earlier in the evening, he had been with a woman, who was believed to an ex-girlfriend of Rivera’s, Newcombe said.
She said there were “some statements between” the woman and Rivera before the altercation, which was captured on surveillance video and confirmed by eye-witness accounts.
While Rivera was on the ground, White “is seen getting into his white BMW, picking up [the woman] and fleeing,” Newcombe said.
Authorities said Rivera was found covered in blood on Clinton Street next to his 2015 Mercedes, which was still running.
Newcombe said an autopsy revealed that his cause of death was multiple blunt force trauma to his head and face. There appeared to be a shoe print found on this face, prosecutors said.
White’s attorney, Robert Curran told Acting County Court Judge Jennifer A. Henry his client, a married father of one, acted in self-defense. “It appears the victim came to start a fight with my client,” he said. “My client was defending himself.”
He said White was “chased down by an ex-boyfriend waiting for him to leave a bar.”
Curran said when White left the scene, Rivera was “sitting on the side of the curb” and didn’t appear to be severely injured. He said his client went to police after learning Rivera had died.
White was held on a bail of $500,000 cash or $1 million bond in Suffolk District Court in Central Islip.
About a dozen of Rivera’s friends and family, including Rivera’s wife, attended the arraignment.
“He was my boss, cousin ... big brother - everything,” said Jaime Coriano, 29 of Bay Shore.
Coriano said Rivera owns Ultimate Transmission, an automatic transmission shop in Deer Park and raced his Mitsubishi Starion.
“He was a great guy,” “Coriano said.