The weeping killer of a Long Island jeweler was sentenced to life without parole on Friday after hearing his victim’s shattered wife describe the devastation caused by the murder last December, The Associated Press reports.
Christopher DiMeo, whom the police called a heroin addict and the ringleader of a robbery spree that left three people dead in New York and Connecticut, broke down in a Mineola, N.Y., courtroom while receiving the maximum sentence for the robbery and slaying of the jeweler, Thomas Renison, 48, of Glen Cove.
DiMeo’s mother, MaryAnn Taylor-Casey, 41, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for driving the getaway car; his female companion, Nicole Pearce, 23, was sentenced to 20 years after pleading guilty to robbery. The authorities described both women as heroin addicts.
Family members of the three slain victims were inside the packed courtroom, the AP reports. Renison’s widow, Michelle, whose husband died inside J & J Jewels, in Glen Head eight months ago, reduced DiMeo, his mother, and his sister to tears after she addressed the court. “Tommy was my life partner and best friend,” she reportedly said. “Our lives and our hearts are broken forever.”
Renison also described the horrific impact the killing had on the couple’s son and daughter. Then she verbally attacked the defendants. “They are animals and should suffer every day,” she reportedly told the court. “They not only murdered Tommy. They killed all of us.”
In the holdup at J & J Jewels, the police said, DiMeo posed as a customer and had Renison show him several engagement rings before announcing a stickup and then firing five shots at the storekeeper.
DiMeo, 23, had pleaded guilty to first-degree murder. As part of the plea bargain, the authorities reportedly said, he was promised that the murder charge against his mother, who took part only in the Long Island robbery, would be dropped and that she would receive a 15-year sentence.
The authorities reportedly said the robbery spree netted DiMeo and Ms. Pearce $380,000 to pay for their heroin addictions. They were arrested on Feb. 4 in an Atlantic City motel room after a manhunt in the New York metropolitan area. The police said they suspected Mr. DiMeo would turn up in Atlantic City because of his gambling habit.
DiMeo and Pearce face additional charges in the killings of Timothy and Kimberly Ann Donnelly during a holdup at their jewelry store in Fairfield, Conn., on Feb. 2, and in robberies of stores in Westbury and Nanuet, N.Y.
DiMeo could face the death penalty in the Donnelly killings; Pearce is charged with felony murder.