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Long IslandCrime

Uniondale man pleads guilty in elderly woman's 2017 murder

Deangelo Gill, 20, was charged with co-defendant Benjamin Lopez in the slashing of Laraine Pizzichemi, 73, in the bedroom of her Levittown home. Charges remain pending against Lopez.

Deangelo Gill was escorted from Nassau Police headquarters

Deangelo Gill was escorted from Nassau Police headquarters in Mineola on Sept. 14, 2017, after his arrest in the slashing death of Laraine Pizzichemi, 73, of Levittown. The next month, a grand jury indicted him and a co-defendant on second-degree murder, robbery, burglary, assault and weapon charges. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

A 20-year-old Uniondale man has admitted a role in the 2017 slashing death of a grandmother in her Levittown home in what police called a revenge-fueled episode of violence that included robbing and beating her grandson.

Deangelo Gill pleaded guilty Friday in Nassau County Court to second-degree murder and first-degree assault in the slaying, according to court records. Authorities have said Laraine Pizzichemi, 73, died after the attack in her bedroom on Sept. 13, 2017.

Acting state Supreme Court Justice Patricia Harrington committed to sentencing Gill to 17 years to life in prison in exchange for his plea, his attorney Greg Madey said later.

The Mineola lawyer added that while his client “was involved in a horrific crime,” Gill had accepted responsibility for his part in violence that Madey said was “orchestrated” by his client’s co-defendant.

Authorities have alleged Gill and co-defendant Benjamin Lopez attacked Pizzichemi after seeing the woman’s 24-year-old grandson leave the family’s North Newbridge Road house.

Law enforcement officials also alleged Gill and Lopez ransacked the home, cutting and beating the grandson when he returned and forcing him to show them to a safe from which they took marijuana and money.

Charges remain pending against Lopez, 24, of Levittown.

Lopez’s lawyer, Bruce Barket, said Friday his client “has a lifelong history of serious mental illness.”

Barket added that Lopez planned to go to trial, where the attorney would present an insanity defense on his behalf.

Lopez “was manipulated and led to this by this other guy,” Barket said of Gill.

A grand jury in October 2017 indicted both defendants on second-degree murder, robbery, burglary, assault and weapon charges.

Both initially pleaded not guilty and have been jailed without bond while awaiting trial.

A later indictment also charged Lopez with first-degree murder in the case, records show.

Gill admitted to detectives after his arrest that he acted “in concert with co-defendant Lopez to enter the place of incident without permission or authority, to kill the occupants and steal money and other items,” prosecutors said in court records.

Police have said Lopez, who lived nearby, had a history of selling marijuana with the grandson and sought revenge because some dealings “went bad.”

Police also have said they arrived at the house after the grandson managed to call 911, as did a 21-year-old woman — whom a source previously identified as the grandson’s sister — who came home during part of the attack.

Less than an hour after the deadly violence, police nabbed both suspects at Lopez’s house, according to authorities.

The Nassau district attorney’s office declined to comment on the case Friday.

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