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Convicted Westbury robber sentenced to 35 years in prison

The Alfonse M. D'Amato U.S Courthouse in Central

The Alfonse M. D'Amato U.S Courthouse in Central Islip in 2017. Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas

A Westbury man who had served time for a series of "extremely violent" armed robberies on Long Island was sentenced to 35 years in prison Thursday following a conviction for shooting a marijuana dealer while robbing him, according to officials.

Spencer Jean, 34, was convicted in 2019 after a two-week trial at the federal court in Central Islip of committing a robbery in interference with interstate commerce, discharging a firearm during a crime of violence and obstruction of justice, officials said.

The obstruction charge stems from Jean asking a former girlfriend to give him a false alibi, both telling investigators and testifying at the trial that he was in a Medford nursing home at the time of the robbery-shooting, federal prosecutors said.

Jean met the unnamed victim when they both lived in a halfway house, where Jean was serving time for a conviction for nine armed robberies in Nassau and Suffolk counties, officials said.

Eastern District Assistant United States Attorney Anthony Bagnuola described in court records the previous nine robberies of which Jean had been convicted in 2008 and sentenced to 10 years, as "extremely violent encounters."

During one of the previous armed robberies, that of tailor shop, for example, "[a] gun was not only brandished, but there was a struggle with the victim over a firearm," Bagnuola wrote. "The trigger was pulled, but it did not discharge. The victim was pistol-whipped [and] suffered an injury to the jaw."

In the robbery-shooting case, the victim contacted Jean in 2018, said he was aware he was a drug dealer and offered to sell him $1,500 worth of marijuana, officials said. Jean showed up at the would-be marijuana seller’s Middle Island home, and shot him in the leg when he resisted, officials said.

The victim was rushed to a hospital, placed on life support because of the loss of blood from the gunshot wound and survived though he was hospitalized for a month, officials said.

Jean maintained throughout the trial before U.S. District Judge Joanna Seybert that he was innocent, and continued to do so after his conviction, according t couot papers. Bagnuola prosecuted the marijuana-robbery case along with Assistant United States Attorney Allen Bode.

"The defendant demonstrated disregard for the life of his victim and no respect for the rule of law, even after having served a lengthy prison sentence," Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District Seth DuCharme said in a statement. "It is thus appropriate and just that he now will be incapacitated in prison for more than three decades."

Bagnuola prosecuted the marijuana-robbery case along with Assistant United States Attorney Allen Bode.

Jean’s defense attorney could not be reached immediately for comment.

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