A Suffolk judge Wednesday sentenced a Northport heroin user who was in the backseat when his uncle ran over a Suffolk police officer with a stolen car, telling him "your story is not unique."
Nicholas Franzone, 23, pleaded guilty last month to second-degree robbery, criminal possession of stolen property and other charges. He had been charged along with his uncle, Chad Morizsan, 35, of Northport, with the Sept. 22, 2014, assault of Nicholas Guerrero, who has since been promoted to detective but has not yet returned to duty. They were in a Ford Explorer that Morizsan had stolen when Guerrero pulled it over in Huntington.
During the stop, while Franzone was in the backseat, Morizsan took off, hit Guerrero and left him in the street with a broken skull, several broken ribs, a collapsed lung and other injuries. The pair then carjacked another vehicle from a woman and used her credit card to buy a television. They were arrested when they tried to return it for a larger one.
Moriszan is serving 25 years in prison for the assault of Guerrero.
Before sentencing Franzone to 3 ½ years in prison, state Supreme Court Justice Fernando Camacho told him that he sees young men like him all too often.
"We have a whole population of zombies running around Suffolk County wreaking havoc," Camacho said, referring to people who commit crimes to pay for their addictions. "It's very disheartening. They do nothing but hurt themselves and hurt others."
Assistant District Attorney Carl Borelli said the sentence was the right one for Franzone, who he said was "appropriately remorseful."
Franzone's attorney, Ian Fitzgerald of Central Islip, said his client is healthier physically and mentally since spending the past year in jail and not on heroin.
Franzone apologized to Guerrero, who was not present, and to everyone involved in the case. "I would like to do my time and move on with my life," he said. "I truly am sorry for everything that happened that day."
Camacho told Franzone that when he leaves prison, he'll stay clean. "This may actually work for you, being clean for a few years," Camacho said.