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Uniondale man sentenced to prison in slashing, robbery case

Wayne Speaks, 48, of Uniondale, pleaded guilty to

Wayne Speaks, 48, of Uniondale, pleaded guilty to multiple counts of robbery, assault and weapons charges in exchange for a 9-year prison term. Credit: NCPD

A man whose guilty plea in a Freeport robbery-assault case brought a halt to a trial in which he was representing himself is heading to prison.

Acting state Supreme Court Justice Meryl Berkowitz sentenced Wayne Speaks, 48, of Uniondale, to a 9-year prison term Friday for his role in a July 2012 attack at a South Main Street motel.

In November, Speaks pleaded guilty to robbery, assault and weapons charges.

Prosecutors said Speaks attacked an Amityville man who had gone to the motel with a woman he met online and was willing to pay for sex. Speaks barged into the room with another man and slashed Robert Payton, 48, in the face and leg with a box cutter, according to prosecutors.

Authorities say the accomplice, identified as Robert Dixon, had a gun and hit the victim in the mouth, knocking out teeth. The attackers fled with the victim's phone, $200 and his driver's license.

Dixon, 50, of Hempstead, has pleaded not guilty and is scheduled to stand trial next week.

A prosecutor said at Speaks' trial that the woman -- Wendi Seletsky, 31, of Hempstead -- texted Speaks before the attack to say Payton was a "fake pimp" who was holding her hostage and threatening to rape her. Seletsky pleaded guilty to an assault charge in 2013, authorities said.

During the trial, Berkowitz repeatedly warned Speaks that she wasn't going to teach him how to try a case. She interrupted his opening statement to remind him he wasn't supposed to be testifying.

Speaks' legal adviser, Garden City attorney John Healy, declined to comment after Friday's sentencing.

Nassau acting District Attorney Madeline Singas said in a statement that the victim's injuries demanded a serious sentence "which hopefully will deter others from engaging in similar acts of violence."

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