A video of a homicide interrogation played Tuesday for a Suffolk jury showed a Brentwood man distraught that the unknown man who initiated a fistfight with him outside a Huntington bar in 2016 had died,
Samuel White, now 35, was charged with first-degree manslaughter after he surrendered to police when he heard the man he fought, Edwin Rivera, 39, of Bay Shore, had died after their brief skirmish outside the now-defunct Mary Carroll's bar.
White is on trial in Riverhead before State Supreme Court Justice William Condon.
On the video, White was often in tears as he gave his account of the fight to Det. Michael Milau.
The night of May 24, 2016, began with White going on a date with Valerie Holloway, who worked at the Carousel Club, a strip club in Huntington Station. Dinner in Deer Park led to a hookah lounge on Jericho Turnpike, and then, White said, Holloway wanted the evening to continue, so she directed him to Mary Carroll's.
White, glum but increasingly agitated on the video, said Holloway was exchanging texts with someone throughout the night. Holloway testified earlier in the trial that she was texting with Rivera, her ex-boyfriend, and was telling him where she was, with another man.
White told Milau that as he and Holloway walked out of the bar, the man helearned later was Rivera pulled up in his Mercedes-Benz and jumped out of it.
"You keep making me feel like I did something wrong here," White told Milau. "The kid's in the middle of the street screaming at me."
White said he told Rivera he didn't want to fight.
"The more I didn't want to do it, it seems like he wanted to be more tough," White said on the video. He said he backed up, but Rivera kept coming toward him until, finally, the fight began.
White said Rivera — who outweighed him by about 80 pounds — swung first, hitting him on the arm.
"I remember hitting him," White told Milau. "And again, like I said, we both fell onto the floor. It was [expletive] terrifying. I was scared."
Milau tried to get White to tell him how many times he hit Rivera. t White said tearfully he didn't know.
"I didn't mean to," he said, sobbing. "I was just defending myself."
Defense attorney Christopher Gioe has argued that White is not guilty because he was protecting himself.
At one point, White said he was worried Rivera was going to stab him. No weapon was recovered from him or in his car, Milau testified later during questioning by Assistant District Attorney Daryl Levy.
White said he regretted going out with Holloway and said he should have stayed home. He told Milau that he tried to tell Rivera that.
"There's no reason for us to fight," White said on the video. "You want her, have her. ... He wouldn't let it be that way. I guess I didn't move far enough."
Milau, on the video, told White that Rivera's injuries indicated that "you might have gotten in too many shots," and asked again how many times he thought he hit Rivera.
White again said he didn't know, adding, "I'm not sitting there counting."
Milau agreed with White on the video that Holloway instigated the confrontation and that White didn't look for or start the fight.
After the video was played, Milau testified that White was cooperative all night. After detectives inadvertently left White unhandcuffed in the interrogation room, the video showed White handcuffing himself.