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2 sentenced in destructive Brookhaven break-ins

Sion Sosa, 19, left, Maurice Jones, 20, right,

Sion Sosa, 19, left, Maurice Jones, 20, right, of Centereach, were part of a group of four teens who took part in a series of break-ins last year, prosecutors said. (May 3, 2012) Credit: Handout

Two of four people charged with burglarizing and vandalizing several homes in northern Brookhaven were sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison Thursday after victims spoke emotionally in court about the destruction left inside their houses.

Two of the homeowners said they were so shaken they planned to sell the houses.

Maurice Jones, 20, and Sion Sosa, 19, both of Centereach, pleaded guilty in December to second-degree burglary and other charges.

State Supreme Court Justice Richard Ambro agreed to honor a plea deal reached with Suffolk County Court Judge Gary Weber, who retired at the end of the year. Assistant District Attorney Erin Cho said her office recommended a sentence of 5 years.

Ambro imposed the sentence after several of the victims described not only what was stolen but how they and their homes were devastated by the crimes.

Maureen Mattern of Setauket asked, "What was the point of leaving the ax on my bed? Was it fear? You accomplished that." She said she can sleep "only when I'm totally exhausted."

Bill Allan of Miller Place said even his golden retriever was traumatized -- since the crime it is no longer placid, but aggressive. He also wondered why the thieves had to take personal papers and heirlooms that had no value to them.

Nicholas Seeberger of East Setauket said his home was ruined after the defendants clogged the drains and turned on the water, causing a ceiling to collapse. They also sprayed a fire extinguisher throughout the house, slashed paintings, wrecked a piano and terrorized his dog, too, he said.

"It is sick," he said. "It is evil." He urged both men to seek God's help "to overcome the darkness within."

Both men apologized.

"I made a lot of bad choices in my life," Jones said. "I'm really sorry for what I've done. This will never happen again."

Sosa said he was "extremely apologetic."

Colleen Elam, 18, of Selden, the group's driver, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 5 years probation. Darnell Loften, 20, of Middle Island, is awaiting trial.

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