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Hempstead man gets 18 years to life for killing girlfriend

Alan Espinoza at Nassau County police headquarters in

Alan Espinoza at Nassau County police headquarters in Mineola on June 22, 2015. Credit: Howard Schnapp

A man who slashed his girlfriend’s neck with a utility knife during an argument last June in their Hempstead apartment was sentenced Friday to 18 years to life in prison.

Alan Espinoza, 26, had been facing 25 years to life for the slaying before he pleaded guilty in May to second-degree murder.

The victim, Neyvin Espinal, 24, worked as a waitress in a Hempstead cafe and the Honduras native would send money home to family that included her young daughter, her former boss has said.

The couple had been dating for months and living in the same apartment for about a month at the time of the June 20, 2015 killing.

Espinoza, also a native of Honduras, spoke briefly in court Friday through a translator.

“I want to say that I am very sorry,” he said before state Supreme Court Justice William Donnino pronounced the sentence.

Espinal’s uncle, Evenor Nieto, 39, of Hempstead, was in court and said later through another translator that he didn’t believe Espinoza’s apology was sincere.

Nieto said Espinal’s daughter is celebrating her eighth birthday in Honduras. The tragedy, he said, is especially difficult for Espinal’s mother — who is raising the girl.

Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas released a statement Friday saying Espinoza “savagely attacked his girlfriend,” adding that a young woman “with so much promise was stolen from her family and friends.”

Espinoza’s attorney, Joseph Lo Piccolo, said after court that his client had been using alcohol and drugs at the time of the domestic dispute.

He said Espinoza had told police Espinal had threatened him with a utility knife, before he took it away and used it on her.

“My client accepted responsibility for a fight that happened between the two of them that unfortunately turned physical,” the Garden City lawyer said. “ ... It was a domestic fight that went too far.”

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