A Brentwood man admitted that, during a botched attempt to rob a Bohemia marijuana dealer, he shot to death his potential victim's father who had tried to break up the stickup, officials said Thursday.
Rhamaad Spann, 31, pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court in Central Islip to a charge of using a firearm to kill a person while committing a robbery.
Spann said the target of his home invasion in December 2009, marijuana dealer Steven Privitera Jr., had been tied up when his father, Steven Privitera Sr., came downstairs, armed with a shotgun, to help his son.
In the ensuing struggle, Spann said the shotgun went off and he then fatally wounded Privitera Sr. with his handgun.
"I shot and killed an individual I now know was Steven Privitera," Spann told U.S. Magistrate Arlene Lindsay.
While Spann described the crime, the elder Privitera's wife, Louise, and daughter looked on with the daughter crying. Both mother and daughter declined to comment, before and after the hearing.
As part of a plea deal, federal prosecutors recommended that Spann be sentenced to 25 years in prison.
But Lindsay told Spann that this was only a recommendation, and when he is sentenced he could face up to life in prison.
Officials have said the elder Privitera was not involved in his son's marijuana dealing.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicole Boeckmann declined to comment afterward.
Spann's attorney, Joseph Ferrante of Hauppauge, said, "My client is going to feel remorse for the rest of his life. He hopes that his plea gives the Privitera family some closure."
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 Privitera.
In pleading to conspiracy to commit robbery in interference with interstate commerce, Moglia, 32, said that though he was not present for the killing, this was the third time he had orchestrated an attempt to rob the younger Privitera.
In June 2009, Moglia said he stole a safe from the Bohemia home, which contained about $144,000, jewelry, marijuana and a shotgun.
In November 2009, he sent members of his crew to attempt a second robbery, but they went to the wrong address.
Moglia faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced.