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Brentwood man gets 25 years in fatal shooting during botched robbery

Rhamaad Spann, 31, who in September 2014 pleaded

Rhamaad Spann, 31, who in September 2014 pleaded guilty to shooting the father of a Bohemia drug dealer in 2009, was sentenced by Judge Leonard D. Wexler in U.S. District Court in Central Islip. Pictured above is Investigators at the scene of fatal home invasion in Bohemia on Dec. 14, 2009. Credit: James Carbone

A Brentwood man who admitted to killing a Bohemia man in a botched attempt to rob the victim's son -- a marijuana dealer -- was sentenced Tuesday to 25 years in prison.

Rhamaad Spann, 32, also was sentenced to 5 years of post-release supervision for killing Steven Privitera Sr., 53, in the December 2009 home invasion.

Though Steven Privitera Jr. was the target, his father -- who was not involved in his son's marijuana dealings -- tried to break up the robbery, prosecutors said.

Tuesday, Privitera's wife found it too difficult to address a federal court in Central Islip and asked Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicole Boeckmann to read a letter, Boeckmann said.

Louise Privitera, who was in court with her daughter and son, wrote that her husband had been "my lifelong friend since I was 14 years old."

She wrote that she hadn't been able to return to the home where the couple lived for 21 years. Her son struggles to go to work as an operating engineer, she wrote, and her daughter will never dance with her father at her wedding.

"Our lives have been damaged forever," she wrote.

Spann pleaded guilty in September to using a firearm to kill a person while committing a robbery.

On Dec. 14, 2009, Spann and a second masked man entered the Bohemia home, Suffolk police said. Spann said the younger Privitera was tied up when his father came downstairs with a shotgun to help him, Spann said in court in September.

In a struggle, Spann said the shotgun went off, and then he fatally shot the elder Privitera with his handgun. "I shot and killed an individual I now know was Steven Privitera," Spann said.

In court Tuesday, Spann apologized to the Priviteras and to his own family, whom he said he "embarrassed."

"Judge, I stand before you today not the same man I was six years ago," he told District Court Judge Leonard D. Wexler. "Six years ago, I was a coward."

Before sentencing Spann, Wexler said: "This defendant knew what he was doing. He's been involved with the law and guns and robbery previously."

Spann was on probation for a gun conviction when he committed the crime, Boeckmann said.

Spann's attorney, William J. Keahon of Hauppauge, told Wexler that Spann cooperated with authorities as he argued for an 18-year sentence.

Keahon said his client has a 9-year-old daughter and a fiancee, and had been a Wyandanch High School wrestling champion and a volunteer wrestling coach for kids in Wyandanch.

In August, a former all-Long Island high school football player, John Moglia of Sayville, pleaded guilty in federal court to masterminding the attempt to rob the younger Privitera.

Moglia, 32, said that though he was not present for the killing, it was the third time he had orchestrated an attempt to rob the younger Privitera.

Moglia faces up to 20 years when he is sentenced July 29.

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