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Long IslandCrime

Hate crime charges for Wantagh man accused of threatening neighbors

Joseph Magistro was arraigned on Tuesday in First

Joseph Magistro was arraigned on Tuesday in First District Court in Hempstead. Credit: NCPD

A Wantagh man faces hate crime charges after he pointed a loaded shotgun at his neighbor, using racial epithets as he told the 62-year-old grandmother, "I'll put a [expletive] bullet in you right now," according to a criminal complaint obtained by Newsday on Wednesday.

Joseph Magistro, 33, who is white, was charged with hate crimes including menacing with a weapon and race-related aggravated harassment after allegedly confronting his neighbor and her 17-year-old grandson, both of whom are black.

The criminal complaint alleges that after damaging the unnamed neighbor's home, Magistro pointed the .12-gauge shotgun at the woman and her grandson, and using a racial epithet, stated "in sum and substance, 'You [expletive] don't belong in this neighborhood. This is a white neighborhood,' " before threatening to shoot the woman.

According to the complaint, Magistro signed a statement admitting to "intentionally damaging the victim's property."

He was arrested by Nassau County police Monday and arraigned Tuesday in First District Court in Hempstead. Judge Andrea C. Phoenix ordered him held on $30,000 bond or $15,000 cash bail. She also issued an order of protection in the case, court records show.

Records additionally show Magistro did not post bail and was remanded.

Guy J. Allen, the attorney who represents Magistro, declined to comment Wednesday.

Magistro went to the neighboring home at about 3:35 p.m. Monday, throwing barbells through windows, breaking other windows with the butt of a shotgun and destroying blinds and walls inside the residence, causing about $2,000 in damage, the complaint said.

When the woman confronted Magistro, according to the complaint, he pointed the shotgun at her and threatened her.

She retreated into the house with her grandson, according to the complaint, and called 911. Magistro "proceeded to trespass upon her fenced property," entering the back yard, where he then "shattered an additional window" of the home, the complaint said.

Police recovered the shotgun and barbells at the scene and also secured depositions from the grandson and a witness, the complaint said. Blood evidence also was recovered from a broken window, where Magistro cut himself during the attack, according to the complaint.

Magistro is charged with second-degree criminal mischief for allegedly causing more than $1,500 in property damage, two counts of hate crime-related second-degree menacing with a weapon, fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon with intent to use, two counts of race-related second-degree aggravated harassment and third-degree criminal trespass.

He is scheduled to next appear in court Thursday, according to records.

Neighbors of both Magistro and the woman and her grandson who authorities say he threatened at their Bayview Avenue home, said Wednesday they were stunned by the accusations.

"It’s kind of sad that kind of attitude, that kind of sentiment, is so openly expressed,” said Dustin Prestige, 36, who is black and moved into the neighborhood in the spring.

 “This is a nice neighborhood," he said. "You don’t expect a man to be outside with a shotgun yelling racial epithets.”

Anthony Scatorchia, 56, also lives on the block. Scatorchia, who moved into the neighborhood in the summer of 2018, said he only knew Magistro in passing.  

Scatorchia said he first saw the woman Monday after Magistro had allegedy threatened her with the shotgun. Scatorchia said he spoke with the neighbor, who appeared distraught, as she sat in a car.

“She was upset. She was shaking," Scatorchia said, adding that the family moved into the home a few months ago.

The woman told him nothing like that had ever happened to her and spoke for a few minutes about how neighbors are supposed to "take care of each other," Scatorchia said.

A woman at Magistro's home declined to comment Wednesday.

Leroy Raymond, 38, said he has lived on the block for the past three years. He didn’t know Magistro or those he's accused of threatening, Raymond said. 

“I thought we were living in better times. I thought we were maybe past that,”  he said. “This isn’t the deep South this is New York. We are a melting pot.”

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