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DA: Drug dealer sentenced for shooting death of homeless man

Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini, shown May

Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini, shown May 14, said Thursday a drug dealer who got 50 years to life for killing a homeless man "deserves to serve every day of his sentence." Credit: James Carbone

A crack cocaine dealer who fatally shot a homeless man over $100 in drug money in Central Islip was sentenced to a total of 50 years to life in prison Thursday, officials said.

Enrique Vega Jr., 48, of Bay Shore, will likely be in prison for the rest of his life because he won’t be eligible for parole until he’s spent 50 years behind bars, said Suffolk District Attorney Timothy Sini.

“He deserves to serve every day of his sentence,” Sini said in an interview Thursday after Vega’s sentencing.

Suffolk County Supreme Court Justice Timothy Mazzei sentenced Vega to 25 years to life in prison on the second-degree murder charge and ordered the rest of his prescribed prison term — 15 years on two counts of criminal possession of a weapon and 10 years on the charge of criminal possession of a controlled substance — to be served consecutively.

The victim, Michael Evans, 54, who was homeless, was shot six times and found dead in the street on Suffolk Avenue, near Church Street, about 12:55 a.m. on Nov. 26, 2018, authorities said.

“Vega gave Mr. Evans drugs to sell and he either took them himself or gave them to friends, or a combination of the two,” said Sini, who added that Vega confronted Evans over the drug debt before shooting him, telling him: “I told you not to mess with my money.”

Video surveillance taken from the scene showed Vega fired six shots at Evans using an illegally possessed handgun, which was recovered by police.

Authorities also found 12.8 grams of crack cocaine in Vega's home after the shooting, authorities said. Sini said Vega was a known drug dealer in the Central Islip area. 

Vega, who was already on parole for drug crimes at the time of Evans' killing, was convicted by a jury on all charges on July 12.

During Vega’s sentencing Thursday, he was permitted to speak in court, but did not apologize and used a derogatory term to refer to Assistant District Attorney Laura Newcombe, who prosecuted the case, Sini said.

Vega’s Sayville-based defense attorney Joseph Hansche did not respond to a phone message seeking comment.

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