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Nassau judge, in sentencing Michael Gibson for murder, says culture of violence 'has to change'

Calling him a "stone cold killer," a Nassau judge Tuesday sentenced a man to 25 years to life in prison for bringing a gun to a Hempstead street fight and fatally shooting a man previously acquitted of murder in a separate case.

"You took it upon yourself to play God," acting State Supreme Court Justice Jerald Carter said in meting out the penalty to Michael Gibson, 35, of Hempstead, whom a jury had convicted of murdering Joseph Bolling, 23, also of Hempstead.

The judge said he was weary of a culture of violence that brought Bolling's family to court first as the kin of the accused in a 2008 slaying case, and more recently as the family of the victim.

"You get tired of looking at parents coming into court devastated because their child . . . has been unilaterally taken from their family as a result of one person's disregard for human life," Carter said. "Something has to change."

Prosecutors said that about 3 a.m. on Sept. 3, 2011, Gibson parked his car and ran up to a fight near Seduccion Gentlemen's Club with a gun after seeing friends were involved. They said he fired a gunshot that hit Bolling in the neck before fleeing. Law enforcement officials arrested Gibson in North Carolina that December.

Acting District Attorney Madeline Singas said in a statement that Gibson would "spend the rest of his life paying for his crime" after shooting Bolling in cold blood and running from the law.

At the trial, defense attorney Joseph Lo Piccolo of Garden City attacked the credibility and reliability of the prosecution's witnesses, also saying Gibson had no motive and forensic evidence was unreliable.

On Tuesday, he reiterated that Gibson would file an appeal and asked the judge to consider showing some leniency. But the judge said that while Gibson had a difficult childhood, the defendant had done nothing to show he deserved mercy from the court.

Assistant District Attorney Lauren Nickerson read a statement in court from the victim's uncle, Byron Bolling, saying Gibson acted "without thought, emotion or respect for human life."

After court, Bolling's uncle recalled his family's relief when his nephew was acquitted of murder after a 2008 fatal shooting at a Uniondale barbecue. But Byron Bolling, 47, of Westbury, said that relief turned into sorrow after the 2011 shooting left his nephew's 5-year-old son without a father.

"I'm happy that he got the max, but it will never bring Joseph back," the victim's uncle said.

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