A waiter was convicted Tuesday of fatally stabbing a busboy in the neck with the jagged edge of a broken vodka bottle in a dispute over tips at a Hicksville restaurant where they worked together, Nassau prosecutors said.

David Jimenez Salazar, 25, of Farmingdale was convicted of first-degree manslaughter after a weeklong jury trial. He faces up to 25 years in prison when he is sentenced by Nassau County District Court Judge Howard Sturim on March 16.

"Elvin Padilla called out sick on July 16, 2020, but after learning of a staff shortage, the dedicated employee took the shift. It would be the last he would ever work,” said Nassau County District Attorney Anne Donnelly. “That evening, the defendant shorted Padilla $20 in tips he was owed, and an argument broke out between the men that would end Elvin Padilla’s life. In a rage, the defendant plunged a broken bottle into the victim’s neck leaving the father of two to die on the floor of the restaurant."

Karl Seman, Jimenez Salazar's Garden City-based defense attorney, said his client has no previous criminal convictions and speaks little English.

"There was an open question whether the deceased charged at him with a one-gallon wine bottle," Seman said, noting that his client was not convicted of "intending to cause the death of his co-worker. He is pursuing all appellate avenues."

Jimenez Salazar, a waiter at La Candela Restaurant in Hicksville, began arguing with the 37-year-old busboy about tip money shortly before 11 p.m., prosecutors said.

The restaurant's owner had instituted a policy, because of the impact of the pandemic on the food service industry, that waiters were to share 30% of total tips with busboys, officials said. But that evening, Padilla accused Jimenez Salazar of under-tipping him for his night’s work and shorting him $20, prosecutors said.

As the men argued, Padilla threw his tip money back at Jimenez Salazar and pushed him. The two men began shoving each other until the defendant left the area, prosecutors said.

Padilla then left the kitchen and entered the bar area of the restaurant where Jimenez Salazar was waiting for him, authorities said.

Jimenez Salazar picked up a glass vodka bottle and swung it at Padilla, striking him, prosecutors said. The defendant then broke the bottle on the counter — leaving a jagged-edged neck — and swung it again at Padilla, stabbing him in the jugular, authorities said.

The victim was found lying on the floor and pronounced dead. Jimenez Salazar was arrested at the scene by officers from the Nassau County Police Department’s Eighth Precinct.

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