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The multi-layered tragedy - opinions wanted!

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  • The multi-layered tragedy - opinions wanted!

    Jury deliberates case of Internet hoax that led to deadly shooting

    Story Highlights

    - A bogus Internet threat may have led to 17-year-old's death
    - Shooting followed confrontation between Daniel Cicciaro and Aaron White
    - Aaron White's father is charged with aggravated manslaughter
    - Defense attorneys say John White feared a racial attack before the shooting

    By Susan Chun

    RIVERHEAD, New York -- The tragic story that began with a sick joke on the Internet is coming to a close as a Riverhead, New York, jury deliberates the fate of 53-year-old John White, on trial for killing a friend of his son.

    A bogus threat of rape on the Internet may have led to the shooting death of 17-year-old Daniel Cicciaro.

    White is accused of shooting 17-year old Daniel Cicciaro in the face on August 9, 2006, outside his Long Island home after a heated exchange with Cicciaro and his friends.

    Cicciaro died that night, and White was arrested. He is charged with second-degree manslaughter.

    The trial has brought out allegations of racism and revenge. White, who is African-American, maintains he was protecting his family from a white lynch mob and says the gun discharged accidentally. Prosecutors disagree, saying White should have called police but instead deliberately chose to confront the boys outside his home with a .32-caliber Beretta.

    Riverhead police say this all started with an Internet prank sent from the MySpace page of White's son, 20-year-old Aaron. Under his screen name, a threatening message was sent to a teenage girl who was a close friend of Daniel Cicciaro.

    The night Cicciaro was killed, he was at a party with the girl when they spotted Aaron White. According to court testimony, Cicciaro became angry and White was asked to leave. Aaron White testified that after he left the party, Cicciaro and a male friend called him on his cell phone, saying to him, "Get back to this party you n****r."

    Aaron White says he then went home and received more calls from Cicciaro and his friends, telling him they were coming to his house to kill him. He then woke his father, who grabbed his handgun and waited for the boys to arrive.


    Police say that around 11 p.m., Cicciaro and four friends arrived at White's house. John and Aaron White walked out of their house, both holding guns, and had a heated exchange with Cicciaro and his friends. John White asked the boys to leave.

    Then, police say, John White shot Cicciaro at point-blank range. Cicciaro died in the emergency room that night.

    But the rape threat that sparked the confrontation between Daniel Cicciaro and Aaron White was not real. Under testimony, Aaron White's friend Michael Longo admitted he logged on to Aaron's MySpace page and sent the threat to the girl as a joke.

    http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/law/12/20...ing/index.html

  • #2
    Originally posted by Le Type Français
    Jury deliberates case of Internet hoax that led to deadly shooting
    - A bogus Internet threat may have led to 17-year-old's death

    Aaron White says he then went home and received more calls from Cicciaro and his friends, telling him they were coming to his house to kill him. He then woke his father, who grabbed his handgun and waited for the boys to arrive.


    But the rape threat that sparked the confrontation between Daniel Cicciaro and Aaron White was not real. Under testimony, Aaron White's friend Michael Longo admitted he logged on to Aaron's MySpace page and sent the threat to the girl as a joke.

    http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/law/12/20...ing/index.html
    The bogus threat was rape of a 3rd party
    Daniel had no right to harass Aaron or take action against a voiced threat toward a 3rd party.
    When Daniel threatened to kill Aaron and arrived at Aaron's home - that (different) threat was escalated and warranted police intervention and the White family had time to contact the police. Had they contacted the police and the police not arrived in time and the threat of the loss of life was present, then maybe....

    Holding a gun pointed at the face of an unarmed person at point blank range is threatening the life of that person. More information would be needed to determine if it was an accident. To me it sounds unlikely. It may have been a regretted action but I'm not sold on the "accident" claims.

    If your motive is to prevent yourself from being harmed and shooting is your only option - then maim the person. Don't shoot to kill. If you had time to prepare for their arrival - your thoughts would be more clear than if you grab your gun under a sudden threat situation.

    I'd like to know if the heated discussion involved Aaron expressing to Daniel that he didn't send the threat. I'd like to know if the phone records back up the calls. I'd like to know how skilled the father is at hand gun usage. If he's a target practice kind of man and skilled marksman his claim to accident is further reduced in validity.

    You can't act against a threat of violence.
    You can act in preservation of your life - immediate danger. And even with a small group of teenagers who haven't taken actual physical steps to harm someone, the preservation of life isn't threatened.

    What were the group of boys holding (Daniel's group)?
    Guns?
    Bats?
    Knives?

    My thoughts are:
    Don't share your passwords to your accounts with anyone - not even the closest of friends.
    Don't threaten anyone even in a joking manner.
    Parents, be more aware of your children's actions if at all possible.
    At least have built a good communication pathway between you so they know they can call on you during times like this. Aaron woke his Dad at least once he himself was too scared to handle the problem alone (presumably).
    Call the police before taking things into your own hands.
    Don't turn yourself into a criminal.
    The threat of harm is not a criminal offense.

    It's a sad situation.
    I feel bad for Mr. White.
    I feel even more so for Daniel's parents.

    * Sorry for the slight use of color. I limited it to the quote area.

    Comment


    • #3
      This is just plain FUBAR'd. It never ceases to amaze me how incredibly insecure and foolish people can be. I'm reminded of the incident where the young lady in suburban St. Louis killed herself because of Internet 'cyberbullying' as well. It appears that people cannot differentiate between reality and fantasy anymore. Regardless of one's age, a person should never, ever, take anything posted on the Internet so seriously as to cause harm to themselves or others. Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never harm me......guess no one lives by that anymore?

      Now about the phone threats......that's more valid, espescially considering that multiple threats were made, and most importantly the threatening party (Cicciaro, et al.) traveled to the defendant (Mr. White's) property. However, in New York, as well as most other states, generally require a legal duty to retreat as much as reasonably possible before using deadly force. In other words, Mr. White was in the clear right up until he decided to use deadly force OUTSIDE his home (granted, in his yard but outside even so), and so failed to meet the legal duty to retreat. If he had gone indoors and Mr Cicciaro had attempted to enter, then yes, he would probably have been justified in using deadly force. But he didn't and he wasn't justified. And so someone died because of a damn fool joke no one should have taken seriously in the first place.

      Todd had it right....multilayered tragedy, but it didn't have to happen. People just don't think anymore, I guess.

      Tom

      Comment


      • #4
        Tom,

        Although, Cicciaro used racist language towards White, I also agree with you that deadly force was unnessary when he used it. Furthermore, White's father should have called the police and waited with police for the boys to come to his home.

        This case reminds me of the Caucasian neighbor who called police as his neighbor's house was getting robbed. Even though the dispatcher on the phone told him over and over again to stay in his house and to not get involved, he went outside of his house and shot and killed both robbers as they tried to flee. The robbers were Africoid and obviously this caused an uproar in the community with people taking both sides.

        I think in both of these stories deadly force was unjustified.

        Comment


        • #5
          I feel bad for all parties involved. Seems like it escalated fast and not one person in the whole group was thinking clearly. In response to Beth29, "the threat of of harm is not a criminal offense." Actually it is, at least in IL it is. The White family could have had Cicciaro and his friends arrested for causing him to be "alarmed and disturbed." You can not threaten people and get away with it.

          One more fatality resulting from Myspace.

          Comment


          • #6
            I was thinking that too LTF. Fox news had a field day with that story and defended the homeowner. So where are all the shoot first, ask questions later CC'ers who support a homeowners right to shoot any threatening party that tresspasses on private property. I'd figure they'd say Cicciaro got what he deserved.
            Last edited by antiquity; 12-21-2007, 10:24 AM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Todd, “Africoid?” Good word. Never heard of that word until now. [extra points for linguistic ability]

              John White committed murder, plain and simple. Maybe not first degree murder but murder just the same. He and his son were not in imminent danger of harm until he left his house to confront the boys. No one even dialed 911 when they felt threatened. I don’t see race as an issue just because one slur word was used. People use that particular word all the time without intending to kill someone.

              Comment


              • #8
                Africoid can refer to someone with an African phenotype regardless of where they were born, unlike the term African-American. By using Africoid, you also avoid negro, colored, black or any other term that may be archaic or offensive.

                Comment


                • #9
                  In Newsday it said that the father was under the impression that the wife was calling 911. He had asked her to. There was also underage drinking going on at that party. The boy who was shot either slapped at the gun or grabbed for it. The home owner said that when he grabbed for it the gun went off and that he never meant to shoot the boy. who knows. Just a tragedy all around. my space,drinking, gang mentality and guns~ Bad combination. So sad. The my space prank started it, the drinking didn't help. He should have stayed in the house and called the police.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I should add that in SOME states, 'castle doctrine' holds that you may 'stand your ground' if in reasonable fear of life and limb, etc. I'm well aware that New York is an extremely liberal state with a seemingly dim view of self preservation, gun ownership, etc, and that some would claim that in Texas (or Florida, if you prefer ) you could get away with having a gunfight in your front yard, but the truth of the matter is no matter what state you live in its always in your best interest to avoid trouble no matter what, and that simply means using good sense, which was conspicously absent in this case.

                    Tom

                    Just thought I'd try to clear up any misconceptions about 'shoot first ask questions later'

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by kap
                      I feel bad for all parties involved. Seems like it escalated fast and not one person in the whole group was thinking clearly. In response to Beth29, "the threat of of harm is not a criminal offense." Actually it is, at least in IL it is. The White family could have had Cicciaro and his friends arrested for causing him to be "alarmed and disturbed." You can not threaten people and get away with it.

                      One more fatality resulting from Myspace.
                      I was threatened with harm and the police said they couldn't do anything about it until the person actually did something. The police said they couldn't intervene or pursue the individual on the presumption he was going to follow through on his threat to me. That you can't arrest someone because they MIGHT do something.

                      My lawyer also said due to a few things specific to the "event" he also could not pursue the person under a civil case and that physical harm to my person or property had to happen for criminal pursuit.

                      I've had to live with my rights being violated (everyone agreed they were violated).
                      I've had to live with the continued threat to my safety from this individual.
                      And to this day there is nothing I can do because the person walks that fine line where he is unreachable both criminally and civilly (each having their own criteria of what is needed to pursue a case).

                      Threat of harm has to be imminent I think.

                      Then there is the issue of jurisdiction
                      county - state - federal

                      Which code - ordinance - tort - or whatever.

                      My situation was a complicated one with no confusion over the obvious wrong doing of the individual but whether or not he could be pursued and who that would be. Certain parties involved would not assist because they weren't legally bound to - when their direct involvement could have ended or at least reduced the situation significantly. It was loophole city.

                      I exhausted all my avenues and was headed toward the FBI when the guy sudden stopped the majority of his threats so maybe he got wind. Now he only reappears every once in a while but the threat is always there.

                      In any case - it's an uneasy feeling all the time.

                      * * *
                      And I agree, had the White family called the police instead of killing the boy, the news would be about the White's litigating against the Cicciaro family.

                      * * *
                      I think I would have swatted at the gun to reduce the threat of it being at my face. So was Daniel's hand injured with the gun shot as well? If the contact of Daniels' hand toward the gun was significant enough, then the shot to the face should have been less direct. So does any news article offer the angle in which the bullet hit the boy's face? [to see if it could have been accidental in a struggle type thing]

                      * * *
                      Never point a gun at a living being without the intent of shooting them
                      Never put your finger on the trigger without the intent of pulling the trigger

                      There are better ways of saying those two statements but they are good rules to live by if you own a gun or are in contact with one.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        The jury is still deadlocked. I've been watching this on the local news. It's a tough case. Both sides have their points. They played the 911 call after the young man was shot and his one friend was dropping the n word during the call giving the defense more opportunity to use the lynch mob defense. I think it was an unfortunate accident and had nothing to do with race.

                        http://www.news12.com/LI/breakingNews

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          stupid, the write up i saw was the father had a handgun he stashed in the garage for quick access , this is the firearm he grabbed and used , his son followed him outside with a shotgun.
                          no good can come of this situation. if the father hadn't shot the kid, his 17 year old son would probably have shot somone with the shotgun.
                          staying inside and calling 911 would have been the smarter prudent thing to do , if they had broken into the house then everything has changed and you have the right to protect yourself and your family.
                          too bad this doesn't apply on the streets of ny , way to many innocent people slaughtered since they are not allowed to protect themselves with anything from mace, tasers,stun guns.
                          th scary thing is the number of weapon carrying police that are mugged
                          cauda equina

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The Whites obviously felt that their lives were in danger. If someone harrasses you at a party, gathers a group together and then calls you to tell you they're coming to your house to kill you, what else are you going to think? They went there looking for trouble. The father asked them to leave before the shooting and they refused.

                            In the case of the guy that Fox news defended for shooting two men scoping his property in an attempt to break in, at least they fled when the homeowner confronted them. The Cicciaro mob refused to leave.

                            What the Whites did could be easily considered self defense. You don't threaten someone at a party, call them up with threats to kill them, go to their home to follow through and then cry innocence.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by antiquity
                              The Whites obviously felt that their lives were in danger. If someone harrasses you at a party, gathers a group together and then calls you to tell you they're coming to your house to kill you, what else are you going to think? They went there looking for trouble. The father asked them to leave before the shooting and they refused.

                              In the case of the guy that Fox news defended for shooting two men scoping his property in an attempt to break in, at least they fled when the homeowner confronted them. The Cicciaro mob refused to leave.

                              What the Whites did could be easily considered self defense. You don't threaten someone at a party, call them up with threats to kill them, go to their home to follow through and then cry innocence.
                              Did they refuse to leave?

                              I am only reading about this case here so is that interpretation or fact?

                              Cicciaro was definitely wrong for being there but in heated arguments people don't back down and walk away at first request. Especially with a gun pointed at your face. How much time passed - anyone know? And what weapons did Cicciaro have on him? Did anyone hit anyone? Can't really kill someone by looking at them or yelling bad words at them.

                              Sounds like people calling each other's bluff and death was the result.

                              Comment

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