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  1. #1
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    NY - Daniel Cicciaro, 17, shot to death, Miller Place, LI, August 2006

    BY ERIK GERMAN, ALFONSO A. CASTILLO AND PATRICK WHITTLE | erik.german@newsday.com
    alfonso.castillo@newsday.com
    patrick.whittle@newsday.com 6:36 PM EST, December 24, 2007 Feeling pressure to return to his family as Christmas rapidly approached -- and to let his fellow jurors return to theirs -- Francois Larche finally agreed to convict John White of manslaughter, despite believing that prosecutors did not prove that White was not justified in his actions the night he shot dead Daniel Cicciaro Jr. in front of White's home.

    "Was Mr. White justified? I think he was," Larche, 46, said Monday. "I really don't think Mr. White -- I don't think he had a fair chance."

    Speaking from his West Islip home on Christmas Eve, Larche, who was juror No. 4, offered a peek inside the locked jury room, where six men and six women put aside their families' lives to reach a decision that would irreversibly change the lives of two other families.
    In exchange for their efforts, jurors got $40 a day -- if their employers weren't paying them -- and a frenzied holiday, fielding a flurry of inquiries into how their decision was reached.

    "You've been calling this house every day!" a man answering the phone at the home of juror No. 12, Richard Burke, of Blue Point, told a Newsday reporter Monday. The jury forewoman, Maureen Steigerwald, of Hampton Bays, said Monday that the intense media coverage "ruined my Christmas."

    Despite his reluctance to be labeled a "holdout" during an earlier interview Sunday morning -- hours after the jury found White, 54, guilty of second-degree manslaughter -- Larche on Monday opened up about the pressure he faced as one of only two jurors who saw reasonable doubt well into the eleventh hour.

    The jury had to decide whether to convict White on a felony charge of second-degree manslaughter or a misdemeanor charge of reckless endangerment, and also had to consider a charge of criminal possession of a weapon.

    Although Larche believed early on in the three-week trial that White recklessly caused the death of Cicciaro, 17, he was never convinced that White's actions were unjustified.

    "You must prove beyond a reasonable doubt and the doubt is definitely there," said Larche, who said he believed White was justified in confronting Cicciaro and four of his friends with a gun when they arrived at his home on the night of Aug. 9, 2006.

    And while Larche said he felt obliged to explore the question thoroughly, most of his fellow jurors had made their decision "within an hour" of the first day of deliberations, which started Wednesday.

    "As far as they were concerned, a young kid was dead and somebody had to pay the price," Larche said. "There was no objective, clear reasoning."

    Larche said he had one ally -- juror No. 8, Donna Marshak, 61. Although Marshak, of Miller Place, did not say much during deliberations, "she stuck with me right to the end," Larche said.

    Reached yesterday, Marshak declined to speak at length about the deliberations, but confirmed Larche "wasn't the only holdout."

    To help resolve their differences, the jury repeatedly asked for portions of testimony to be read back, for exhaustive clarification of the applicable law, and to examine every exhibit in the trial.

    Larche hoped reviewing evidence and law would prove prosecutors failed to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that White acted without justification. But he said his opponents never budged. Such requests were "exercises in futility," he said.

    To help make their cases, the jury requested and received notebooks, in which Larche said each juror penned a vote of "guilty" or "not guilty" -- and listed reasons why.

    When Larche refused to abandon his stance even as the weekend approached, hostility flared in the jury room, where the jurors gathered from morning until night with nothing but a table, 12 chairs, and the evidence. Juror No. 10 even turned red and "started to punch walls and go crazy," Larche said.

    The tension was apparent Saturday night as that juror sat doubled over in the jury box, trembling and running his fingers through his hair as an exhausted Larche rubbed at the bridge of his nose.

    "Doors were slammed in my face. They called me a pighead," Larche said.

    So combustible were the deliberations that Larche recalled one juror even accusing him of violating his oath as a juror, which called him to act fairly and impartially and use logic and objectivity, rather than emotion, in considering the evidence.

    Twice the jury asked Suffolk County Court Judge Barbara Kahn to clarify the oath. Marshak noted yesterday that jurors could have saved themselves some time. "The oath was in the juror's handbook in the lobby, but nobody bothered to bring in the book," she said.

    Downplaying the rift, Steigerwald said she asked for clarification about the oath because "we wanted to be very clear about what our job was."
    http://www.newsday.com/news/local/ny...918,full.story

  2. #2
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    Defendant: 'I didn't mean to shoot this young man'

    BY ALFONSO A. CASTILLO | alfonso.castillo@newsday.com 10:32 PM EST, December 14, 2007 In riveting testimony in his manslaughter trial Friday, John White tearfully vowed that Daniel Cicciaro Jr.'s death was a tragic accident, colored by the fears and experiences of a black man whose family was once targeted by the Ku Klux Klan.

    "I didn't mean to shoot this young man," White, 54, said, sobbing as he stood before a Riverhead jury. "This young man was another child of God."

    White is charged with second-degree manslaughter for acting recklessly when he shot Cicciaro, 17, in the face in front of White's Miller Place home on Aug. 9, 2006. Cicciaro and four teenage friends had gone to White's Independence Way home to confront his son Aaron, 17, who Cicciaro accused of threatening to rape his female friend. The accusation turned out to be false.
    White began his testimony Friday with stories of growing up poor in Brooklyn and hearing tales from his Southern grandparents about having their business burned down by the KKK. He remembered encountering racism for the first time when, while traveling to the South by train, his family was ordered to leave the sleeper car once the train passed the Mason-Dixon Line.

    "I was 4 or 5 years old, so I couldn't read. So my mother would have to hold my hand and show me which fountain I could go to," a soft-spoken White said.

    Through hard work -- first as an electrician and later laying asphalt -- White said he was able to move his family from Brooklyn to Babylon in 1988. After hearing a story about another black family in town having their house burned down, White said he decided to keep his grandfather's .32-caliber Beretta handgun loaded for protection.

    In 2004, White moved his family to their dream home in Miller Place.

    "August 9, 2006. Do you remember that day?" White's attorney, Paul Gianelli, of Hauppauge, asked him.

    "Yes," White responded. "It won't leave my head."

    "He was scared. Aaron was terrified," White testified, recalling his son waking him up from a deep sleep. "He said, 'These kids are coming to kill me.' And I immediately grabbed the shotgun out of the closet."

    White said he looked out the window to see one car pulling up by his house, and then moments later another one -- its headlights pointing up his driveway.

    "In my family history, that's how the Klan comes," said White, clutching a rosary. "They pull up. They blind you with their lights. They burn your house down. They threaten you. That's how they come."
    He said he put on a polo shirt and shorts and ran downstairs. After loading his shotgun, he realized it was "not a good idea" and left it in a closet near the front door.

    As he saw "the mob" work its way up his driveway, White said he yelled at his wife, Sonia, to call 911, and then went to his garage. "I walked around the car and went to the shelf and pulled out my grandfather's .32 Beretta," he said.

    White said he thought he was alone as he walked out of the garage toward the group but soon realized he was being followed by his son, brandishing a shotgun.

    White said he waved the gun at the teens' belts, and "told them to get the -- off my driveway, get off my property, to back up ... I didn't want to shoot anybody."

    But the group bombarded him with the N-word "and wouldn't stop," White said.
    http://www.newsday.com/news/local/ny...,6024585.story

  3. #3
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    What a sad story.

  4. #4
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    I hope the judge grants a new trial.

  5. #5
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    What is WRONG with that juror????

    Why vote to convict?

    Why not send a note to the judge saying we are deadlocked, we will never resolve our differences enough to come to a verdict?

    I'm not feeling any sympathy for this guy. So what if he felt pressured? He let that pressure convict a man who he believed was innocent.

    USA jury system is starting to really bother me. I wish they gave IQ tests before they let someone serve on a jury. I really do.

  6. #6
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    OMG!!! This guy soooo needs to Grow some!!

  7. #7
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    Another example of the need for professional jurors.
    It's not what a man knows that makes him a fool, it's what he does know that ain't so. .... Josh Billings

  8. #8
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    There are professional jurors?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by MCDRAW View Post
    There are professional jurors?
    YES!!! People who are competant and nuetral and NOT morons

  10. #10
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    Thank you "12 Angry Men" and scores of bad "Lifetime" movies for providing us these drama queen jurors who wanna be the "lone hold-out for justice".

    This makes me wanna vomit. He DID NOT HAVE TO VOTE GUILTY. He just wants his 15 minutes of fame. This has nothing else to do with the criminal case.


  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by MCDRAW View Post
    There are professional jurors?
    I said "need for". However, instead of professional jurors, I would also accept a process that required all jurors to first pass an applied logic test before they could enter the pool of jurors that would face voir dire.
    It's not what a man knows that makes him a fool, it's what he does know that ain't so. .... Josh Billings

  12. #12
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    John White Speaks Out On Conviction

    Defense Team Plans To Appeal Ruling

    RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (CBS) ― People in Long Island are thinking hard about the manslaughter conviction of a Miller Place father who shot a 17-year-old teenager who came to his home. His attorneys have publicly stated that racism plays a huge role in the case, leaving people in the neighborhood sounding off and a father speaking out for the first time.

    One day after he was convicted of manslaughter White finally broke his silence to CBS 2 HD.

    The characteristically tight-lipped John White walked down the same driveway Sunday, where his life changed dramatically on a summer night in 2006.

    "I am not inhuman. I have a very deep feeling for this young man and his family," said White. "I am not inhuman."

    A Suffolk County jury found the 54-year-old father guilty of killing Daniel Cicciaro Jr. The 17-year-old came to White's Miller Place house with his friends to confront White's son. An argument erupted, and Cicciaro was killed by White's gun.

    White's defense team unsuccessfully argued he was protecting his family from a lynch mob. After the verdict, the Cicciaro family had this to say about Daniel: "e was beautiful, he was not a racist, he was not in a lynch mob.
    http://wcbstv.com/local/john.white.c....2.617004.html

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wudge View Post
    I said "need for". However, instead of professional jurors, I would also accept a process that required all jurors to first pass an applied logic test before they could enter the pool of jurors that would face voir dire.
    Very good idea Wudge!
    My first inclination would have been to suggest intelligence testing, but a person can be both intelligent and have very bad judgement. Applied logic testing would be more helpful.
    To bad there is not also a reliable test for bad attitude to go with it.

    Merry Christmas to you Wudge!
    Susan

  14. #14
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    This story is so tragic and IMO, I am not sure that those close to the victim truly realize how a stupid hoax led to all of this. I am sure it is hard for Daniel's father to see beyond his own pain right now, but his son was not acting chivalrous, he took matters into his own hands, incited a riot and tried to act like a vigilante. And it cost him his life. Daniel's father can't even admit that his son did anything wrong.

    As for John White, I think he got a bum deal. However, I think if he had called for help immediately after the shooting, circumstances would be a lot different.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Masterj View Post
    This story is so tragic and IMO, I am not sure that those close to the victim truly realize how a stupid hoax led to all of this. I am sure it is hard for Daniel's father to see beyond his own pain right now, but his son was not acting chivalrous, he took matters into his own hands, incited a riot and tried to act like a vigilante. And it cost him his life. Daniel's father can't even admit that his son did anything wrong.

    As for John White, I think he got a bum deal. However, I think if he had called for help immediately after the shooting, circumstances would be a lot different.
    When they were cheering in the courtroom and the attorney told them to calm down, I was appalled by their reaction.
    There was nothing to cheer about. These kids acted like a mob. Their son was killed, and a man who feared for his family is going to jail.
    There was nothing to celebrate.

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