A woman and her sister pleaded for leniency Wednesday for the man -- her fiance at the time -- who beat her 90-year-old grandmother to death, and both women were scolded by the sentencing judge for being more concerned about the killer than the victim.
"These two . . . granddaughters never mentioned the grandmother, or what she was like," Judge Fernando Camacho said after hearing the pleas from Denise Razzano, fiancee of Robert Waters, and her sister, Melissa Razzano.
"Justice in this case is the maximum sentence," Camacho said in County Court in Central Islip as he imposed a term of 25 years to life in prison on Waters, 24, who had shared the Centereach home of Denise Razzano and her grandmother, Florence Troiani.
Prosecutor Glenn Kurtzrock called Waters "a monster," and said a medical examiner testified that Troiani's body had evidence of 25 to 30 blows and that she had been beaten so badly that some injuries merged into others.
Waters claimed he was suffering a seizure and could not remember the night of the beating on June 21, 2011. "I want to say I'm sorry for what I did. I didn't know what I was doing," he told the judge. "I had no reason to hurt her. I'm sorry. I am heartbroken about what I did."
Defense attorney Anthony La Pinta of Hauppauge said he would file an appeal of the conviction of murder in the second degree, reached by the judge after a nonjury trial late last year.
Denise Razzano telephoned police on the night of the attack to report that Waters was having a violent outburst -- much as he had six months earlier when it took four police officers to subdue him.
"Robert loved my grandmother deeply; my grandmother loved him . . . He was very good to her," she told the judge. "Robert is a good person. He never laid a hand on me."
Melissa Razzano spoke next. She, like her sister, asked for leniency, but she sobbed during her remarks, which were almost inaudible in the courtroom.
La Pinta also argued for leniency, asking for the minimum sentence of 15 years to life in prison.
The judge said a presentencing report by the Probation Department -- not a public document -- showed Waters' long history of bad behavior went back to when he was 10 years old. "The signs were always there," the judge said.
He cited Waters' lengthy history of encounters with police, social workers and child protective services over the years.
The judge said it was hard to comprehend how anyone could commit such a heinous crime. "Perhaps the answer is as simple as this: that human beings are capable of committing evil deeds, and this is an evil deed," the judge said.
He said the grandmother was a frail woman who lived a simple life in a home filled with simple, framed photographs, knickknacks and a small television -- all smashed to bits by Waters.
In the last moments of her life, she must have realized "the man she trusted was beating her to death," the judge said.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story did not properly attribute who spoke about the criminal history of Robert Waters.