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DA: 2 convicted in Meadowbrook Parkway brick toss

Andrew Denton, 19, of East Meadow, and Jacob

Andrew Denton, 19, of East Meadow, and Jacob Palant, 20, of Syosset, were found guilty Wednesday, May 17, 2017, of throwing bricks from an overpass onto the Meadowbrook Parkway in December 2015, "striking a car and causing permanent damage" to a passenger, the Nassau County district attorney's office said. Credit: State Police

Two men were convicted on assault and other charges Wednesday for throwing bricks from an overpass onto the Meadowbrook Parkway and causing permanent eye damage to a passenger in a car, prosecutors said.

A jury found Andrew Denton, 19, of East Meadow, and Jacob Palant, 20, of Syosset, guilty of assault, reckless endangerment and criminal mischief in connection with the December 2015 incidents, according to a news release from Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas.

The jury deliberated about a day and a half.

The defendants are being held on $1 million bond or $500,000 cash bail. Palant is scheduled for sentencing before acting Supreme Court Justice Meryl Berkowitz on June 28, with Denton set for sentencing the following day.

Both face up to 5 to 25 years in prison on the top count of first-degree assault.

“These defendants played Russian roulette with innocent peoples’ lives and used them as moving targets when they threw bricks and cinder blocks at passing vehicles from an overpass,” Singas said in the release.

The attorney for Denton, Edward Galison of Mineola, said in a telephone interview Wednesday that he was “obviously not happy” with the verdict and added, “I think the jury made a mistake.

“There was not enough evidence to convict him,” Galison said of his client. He said the witnesses were “horrendous” and did not tell the truth. He said there will be “innumerable grounds to appeal on.”

Palant’s lawyer, William McCulloh, of West Babylon, said he and his client also did not agree with the jury’s decision.

“Obviously we don’t agree,” McCulloh said. “We’re exploring all our options.”

Singas said that on two occasions on Dec. 26, 2015, Denton and Palant threw paving bricks and cinder blocks at cars from a Meadowbrook Parkway overpass bridge in Uniondale.

During the first incident in the afternoon, the defendants did not hit any vehicles, she said. However, during the second incident at about 8 p.m., the defendants struck two vehicles — a BMW and a Jeep — with bricks.

The first car that was hit was the BMW, which was traveling north on the Meadowbrook when a paving brick smashed through the windshield, Singas said.

The shattered glass caused a lip laceration and permanent damage to the left eye of then 22-year-old Brianna Rios of West Hempstead who, Singas said, has a permanent scar on her cornea and suffers from blurry vision in that eye.

During the trial, which started May 1, Rios testified that she saw the shadows of two people on the overpass before the windshield of the BMW her boyfriend was driving “exploded,” leaving her with shards of glass in her left eye and a lip laceration.

Under cross-examination, Rios testified that she couldn’t identify anyone on the overpass.

Singas said the driver of the BMW was cut on his shoulder and had shoulder pain from where the brick struck him.

The Jeep had about $5,000 in damages after it was struck in the second incident, Singas added.

State Police arrested the pair on Jan. 1 of last year following an investigation.

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