Guilty Plea Entered In Feud Case
MINEOLA, N.Y. (AP) _ A 56-year-old man has pleaded guilty in the shooting death of a neighbor with whom he had been feuding for half the 20 years they lived next door to each other.
″I fired the rifle,″ said James Peters of Franklin Square, who entered his plea Wednesday. ″I didn’t mean it. I didn’t aim it at anyone. I wish I could turn back the clock.″
Peters pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of attempted murder in the death last July of Ralph Galluccio, 52, a musician and music teacher. Nassau County Court Judge John Thorpe Jr. sentenced him to four to 12 years in prison.
″You destroyed the lives of two families,″ Thorpe told Peters. ″The lives of the Galluccios and the lives of your own family.″
Peters, a tool warehouse manager, shot Galluccio after Galluccio allegedly sprayed a garden hose through a window of the Peters’ house, flooding the living room floor.
″I tried to make him stop what they were doing,″ Peters told the court in a barely audible voice.
Galluccio’s action was in apparent retaliation for an egg throwing incident in which Peters’ wife, Joanne, allegedly threw eggs at the Galluccio house after an argument.
The families, who have lived next door to each other for 20 years, sat on opposite sides of the courtroom during the proceedings. Neither family showed any emotion.
The feud between the families originated 10 years ago with a dispute over property lines, according to police.
Assistant District Attorney Edward McCarty said in court that the Galluccio family had agreed with the plea and the sentence.
The sentence was recommended ″in light of the defendant’s age, poor health, an aneurysm and hypertension, and a clean criminal record,″ McCarty said.
He also said the plea guaranteed the Galluccios a claim in a $16 million lawsuit which they filed agains the Peters family.
Peters was originally charged with second-degree murder. He could have received up to 25 years on the attempted murder charge.
Peters fired a .22-caliber rifle from his porch across his yard and hit Galluccio, a musician and music teacher, in the face.