By Danny Schrafel
A Huntington Station man charged with manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide for killing an alleged would-be burglar last March is practically a free man after a mistrial paved the way for him to take a plea deal.
At one point, Youssef Abdelgawad, 26, faced up to 15 years in prison; on Jan. 8, he was ordered to pay $250 in fines and fees and sentenced to a one-year conditional discharge Jan. 8.
Abdelgawad pleaded guilty to reckless endangerment Jan. 8. Covered by that plea is one count of criminally negligent homicide, an E felony.
The plea deal comes after his manslaughter trial ended in a mistrial Nov. 26 due to a hung jury, a spokesman for the Suffolk County DA’s office said Tuesday.
Initially, Abdelgawad was charged with second-degree manslaughter, a C felony, as well as criminally negligent homicide in the August 2013 death of Jazzmen Bryant, 33, who was killed by two bullets fired by Abdelgawad, according to law enforcement officials.
Huntington-based Matthew Tuohy, listed in online court records as his attorney, could not be reached by press time Wednesday.
Under the plea deal, the manslaughter count was dropped. Abdelgawad is due back in court for a mandatory surcharge hearing March 13.
Judges set the conditions to be complied with on a case-by-case basis, and may modify – or expand – the conditions if the defendant violates the conditions or commits another offense; the court may revoke the sentence “at any time,” state penal law reads.
Conditional discharges are used when the court “is of the opinion that neither the public interest nor the ends of justice would be served by a sentence of imprisonment and that probation supervision is not appropriate,” according to New York State penal law.
At the time of Abdelgawad’s arrest on March 2, 2014, law enforcement officials said Bryant and four other men planned to rob Abdelgawad’s 7th Avenue home, where he lived with his brother and parents, on the night of Aug. 21, 2013.
According to officials, while Bryant and three of his friends hid behind a shed on the property, a fifth man approached a sliding glass door at the back of the home and got into an altercation with Abdelgawad’s brother and two of the brother’s friends. Police said the man who approached the back door of the home was armed with a pellet gun.
A struggle ensued, officials said, and soon after the would-be-burglar ran away from the home, officials said. His friends who were hiding behind the shed were right behind him.
Bryant, who law enforcement officials said was not the man who approached the back door, made it to a neighboring property before he was shot twice in the back of the head. Suffolk County police in August found Bryant’s lifeless body in a dark-colored sedan parked near West Hills Road and Eighth Street, more than a block away from the scene.