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The mother of a New York firefighter beaten to death by a gang member after a minor collision of their cars sobbed in court Friday as her son’s killer was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Judge Vincent Del Giudice, sentencing 33-year-old Joseph Desmond, said he was a dangerous and unrepentant person who should spend the rest of his life behind bars.
“It is the sincere hope and desire of this court that you will never, ever be released from prison,” Del Giudice said.
Desmond murdered Faizal Coto, 33, on December 9, 2018, near the Verrazzano Bridge that links the New York City boroughs of Staten Island and Brooklyn.
Coto, a three-year FDNY veteran, crashed into Desmond’s car and stopped to exchange insurance information.
Desmond approached Coto, hit him over the head with a heavy object, and fled; he was later arrested at a New Jersey motel.
Coto later died from multiple skull fractures.
Prosecutors say Desmond was a Staten Island gang member who was once convicted of hate crime charges for attacking a gay man with a stun gun.
Coto’s brother told the court in Brooklyn on Friday how Faizal was supportive of his mother, describing him as a kind and generous person dedicated to his family.
“Since December 9, 2018, it has been a struggle to live in a world without my brother,” said Ismael Coto.
‘Today you turn 33, and that’s the same age my brother was when you took his life.’
Fighting to contain his emotion, Ishmael smiled as he called his brother ‘mama’s boy’, who adored his mother.
“You took someone who meant the world to so many people,” Coto said.
You took away our moments. You took away a mother’s favorite son. Faizal was a mama’s boy. And his goal in his life was to take care of his mother and make sure he was always happy and stable in life.’
Coto’s mother dried her tears as her son spoke.
“Faizal was an incredible soul,” added Coto.
Eric Gonzalez, the Brooklyn District Attorney, described Desmond as a cold-hearted killer.
‘He not only assaulted and injured him, but he left him lying on the side of the road without asking for help, asking for help,’ he said.
That was a true sign of cowardice.
In his statement, Desmond questioned the evidence and showed no remorse.
“I oppose this trial in its entirety,” Desmond said.
The judge was angry at Desmond’s attitude.
‘Not only has it deprived the victim, the family of a son, a brother and an uncle, but it has also deprived the people of this city of a person who is dedicated to responding to their need for help and assistance in times of need. crisis,’ he said. .
I can dissuade you from harming other people by keeping him in prison for the rest of his life, and that is precisely what I am going to do.
Coto’s colleagues, who attended his funeral in Coney Island in large numbers, even though he was off duty at the time of the incident, were present in court for sentencing.
“Faizal Coto was a great selfless man, loved by all who knew him, an asset to his family, his friends and fellow firefighters, an asset to New York City,” said Andrew Ansbro of the Association of Uniformed Firefighters.
‘Her loss of him is lost on all of us.’
Joseph Desmond Quick and Facts
- Off-duty firefighter Faizal Coto, 33, was beaten to death on December 9, 2018, near the Verrazzano Bridge which links Staten Island to Brooklyn
- On Friday his killer Joseph Desmond, 33, was sentenced to 25 years to life, with the judge handing the maximum sentence
- Coto and Desmond were involved in a minor collision near the bridge, and Coto walked towards Desmond to exchange insurance information
- Desmond then attacked Coto, fracturing his skull before driving away and leaving him to die on the road
- Coto’s brother Ishmael on Friday told Desmond that he had robbed the world of a kind, caring ‘amazing soul’ who was devoted to their mother