Shocking Statement In LIC Murder Sentencing
The still-grieving daughter of a Long Island City Good Samaritan who died during a brutal attack by a homeless drug addict, told the court last week that she feels saddened for the man convicted in the senseless attack.
Doris Nowillo Suda, 40, shocked the court with her Victim Impact Statement at the sentencing of Eric Cherry, an Army vet who was found guilty of manslaughter and assault for beating Nicholas Nowillo, 65, outside his Long Island City home in September 2008.
In her statement prior to Cherry’s sentencing, Suda not only forgave him, but went on to ask the court to limit his sentence to 12 years. “He’s a human being,” she said.
According to trial testimony, Nowillo walked out the front door of his home on Crescent Street at about 10:30 p.m. on Sept. 3, 2008 to escort a neighbor from her car to her front door, because she was afraid of a man who lurked in the darkness of the street.
The neighbor, Michelle Koutsouvelis said she called Nowillo and asked him to watch as she walked to her home.
“He was like my second father,” Koutsouvelis said. “It was second nature for me to ask him to watch me to my door.”
When Nowillo reached the street, he spotted Eric Cherry, then 43, trying to break into cars on the street. Law enforcement sources said the neighborhood had experienced a spike in car thefts and Nowillo was one of many residents who kept a constant lookout for the thieves.
When Nowillo confronted Cherry, the convicted drug abuser punched the retired jeweler, then grabbed him and threw him to the ground where he kicked and pummeled Nowillo, until he suffered a fatal heart attack, court records state.
Nowillo, who had a history of heart problems and diabetes, was taken to Mount Sinai Queens, where he died a short while later.
Cherry fled the scene but was captured several blocks away by police at the 114th Precinct.
Nowillo, who lived on Crescent Street for more than 34 years, was known as a neighborhood good guy.
The father of two spent countless hours volunteering with the Evangel Christian Church and School, where he was a member for more than 19 years. He was also an active member of the Dutch Kills Civic Association and was considered a crime fighter by neighbors.
Suda said in her statement, “You (Cherry) are not the same person that was arrested that night. Jail has changed you, and you’ve educated yourself. I hope when you are released, you will become a productive member of society and change your ways,” Suda said..
Cherry, who apologized to Nowillo’s family, was sentenced to 19 years in prison. He said, “I never intended for anyone to lose their life. I’m not a bad person.”
“This heartless man has left an empty place in our lives that can never be filled,” Suda said.