Casey Fitzgerald of Long Beach was sentenced Tuesday to 30...

Casey Fitzgerald of Long Beach was sentenced Tuesday to 30 years in prison for fatally shooting his neighbor after being convicted of first-degree manslaughter and two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon in December. Credit: NCPD

A Nassau judge Tuesday sentenced a Long Beach man to 30 years in prison for shooting his neighbor in the face and killing him after they had an argument on the street.

Casey Fitzgerald, 21, was convicted of first-degree manslaughter and two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon in December.

Prosecutors said Fitzgerald and his neighbor, Ernest Cummings Jr., 48, got into an argument in front of Fitzgerald's East Hudson Street home in March 2010. After the argument, both men returned to their homes, prosecutors said. Cummings came out of his home a few minutes later to find Fitzgerald waiting for him, prosecutors said.

Fitzgerald fired three shots from a revolver, hitting Cummings once in the face between his left eye and nose, prosecutors said. Cummings was pronounced dead at South Nassau Communities Hospital shortly afterward.

Fitzgerald, who claimed that he had acted in self-defense, was acquitted of second-degree murder at trial. Nassau County Court Judge James McCormack imposed the sentence.

At trial, Fitzgerald's attorney, Jeff Groder of Mineola, said his client shot Cummings only because Cummings had a gun and was making a move to use it.

Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said, "Mr. Fitzgerald could have stayed in his home after the argument and the conflict could have ended there.

"Instead, he grabbed his gun and chose to violently and irrevocably damage not only the victim's family, but his own. It's a choice that Mr. Fitzgerald will have the next 30 years locked in a prison cell to think about."

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