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Central Islip man convicted in teen's death

Lavelle Todd, 21, was sentenced to 22 years

Lavelle Todd, 21, was sentenced to 22 years in prison. Photo Credit: Handout

A Central Islip man tried for a second time in connection with the shooting death two years ago of an 18-year-old man was convicted Thursday of first-degree manslaughter and first-degree assault by a Suffolk County jury.

Lavelle Todd, 21, was acquitted of second-degree murder in the Memorial Day 2008 death of Robert Adams Jr. of Central Islip.

He could be sentenced to a maximum of 75 years in prison if County Court Judge Martin Efman rules that sentences for manslaughter and assault may run consecutively, Assistant District Attorney Robert Biancavilla said. Sentencing was scheduled for Jan. 18.

The jury of seven men and five women reached its verdict shortly before 5 p.m. after deliberating about 23 hours over four days.

In Todd's first trial, a different jury could not agree on whether he had acted in self-defense, leading Efman to declare a mistrial in May.

Thursday's verdict stunned Adams' mother and sister.

"We thought he was going to get second degree," said Angela Jermon, 26, Adams' sister, referring to the murder charge. "He deserves second degree."

After speaking to Biancavilla, she and Adams' mother, Lorraine Jermon of Central Islip, said they accepted the verdict. Lorraine Jermon said she hopes Todd never gets out of prison.

"I can finally sleep a little bit better," she said. "Now maybe my son can rest."

Prosecutors said Todd shot and killed Adams and wounded two other men during a community party called "CI Day" on May 26, 2008, at the Central Islip Recreation Center.

Todd's attorney, Daniel Russo of East Quogue, said he was disappointed the jury did not believe Todd was defending himself when he fired. Todd, testifying in his own defense, claimed he shot the victims when one appeared to pull out a weapon.

Prosecutors said Todd, an alleged member of an offshoot of the Bloods street gang, shot Adams and the other men as the result of a feud between rival gangs. The wounded men belonged to the Green And White street gang, also known as GNW or G-Dubs, prosecutors said. Adams did not belong to a gang, prosecutors said.

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