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Man gets 15 years for part in slaying

Family members break down outside of courtroom at

Family members break down outside of courtroom at Riverhead Criminal Court after Tymell McFarland was sentenced to 20 years in jail for the killing of Bernard Henderson, 31, in Copiague in 2010. (Feb. 8, 2011) Photo Credit: James Carbone

At an emotional court hearing Tuesday, the mother of Tymell McFarland wept and screamed as her son was sentenced to 15 years in prison for his role in the shooting death of a Centereach man.

While the family of victim Bernard Henderson looked on silently, Crystal Holloway collapsed and sobbed until she was taken from the Riverhead courtroom by a relative. She continued crying outside court.

"He's taking my son," Holloway said, as State Supreme Court Justice C. Randall Hinrichs pronounced sentence. "He didn't do it and you know it."

Tymell McFarland, 20, of Massapequa, was one of two men sentenced Tuesday in connection with Henderson's death on March 29, 2010, in Centereach. McFarland had pleaded guilty last year to criminal possession of a weapon.

The other man, Gerard Ramdas, also 20, of Copiague, received a 20-year prison sentence. He had pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter.

Prosecutors said Ramdas shot Henderson, 31, following a dispute over a drug deal gone bad. McFarland had carried the weapon used to kill Henderson, prosecutors said. The two men were sentenced separately.

Henderson was described by his family as a gifted student and singer who attended Seton Hall University on a full scholarship. His aunt, Shirley Powell, called Henderson a "gentle giant."

Henderson is survived by a son, now 18 months old, said his sister, Vallene Henderson. She said she hoped Ramdas and McFarland would "go in a different direction" when they leave prison. Vallene Henderson told Ramdas at his sentencing: "I hate you, but that's not my place to judge you."

Ramdas and McFarland originally had been charged with second-degree murder.

McFarland's attorney, John Scarpa of Bayside, said the weapons possession charge that McFarland admitted to "fit the facts more than the original charge. This young man never killed anybody."


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