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Maspeth man gets 25 years for beating

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A Maspeth man was sentenced to 25 years in prison last week for beating and nearly killing two immigrant laborers he had picked up in Long Island with a friend, a representative of the Suffolk County district attorney said.

Ryan Wagner, 20, of 60th Lane, received the maximum punishment on each of six charges of attempted murder, assault and aggravated harassment when he was sentenced Jan. 9 before Judge Stephen Braslow, said Michael Ahearn, the chief of the major crimes bureau for the Suffolk County DA.

Wagner, who will serve the sentences concurrently, faces the longest jail time — 25 years — from the attempted murder charges. He will only be eligible for parole after about 21 years, Ahearn said.

Although Wagner presented a tearful apology to the court before his sentencing, Braslow responded that he only felt remorse after he had been caught, the Associated Press reported.

Wagner’s friend, Christopher Slavin, 29, of Long Island, received the same sentence after being convicted on the same charges five months ago.

The conviction stems from an attack on two Mexican immigrants — Israel Perez and Magdaleno Estrada Escamilla — whom Wagner and Slavin picked up from a Farmingville street corner with promises of work on Sept. 17, 2000.

Upon reaching the basement of a warehouse in Shirley, Wagner and Slavin assaulted the laborers with shovels, a post-hole digger and a knife.

Ahearn said the DA sought the maximum sentence because of “the horrendous nature of the crimes.”

“One of (the victims) actually would have died if he hadn’t gotten immediate assistance,” he said. “It wasn’t as if these just took place on the spur of the moment. There was premeditation and planning going into them.”

The bias attack attracted a flurry of media attention because Farmingville was caught up at the time in a heated debate over undocumented immigrants who waited on street corners to be picked up for daytime work.

At the time of his conviction, Wagner’s attorney Thomas Liotti disputed the verdict.

“I don’t think he received a fair trial,” Liotti said. “This is a kid that had a difficult upbringing, had turned his life around 1,000 percent, and really deserves a second chance at life.”

When he took the stand in his own defense, Wagner claimed to have been in an “out of control” rage fueled by alcohol and LSD at the time of the attacks, according to published reports.

He said he was simply looking to beat up anybody and had not specifically targeted Mexicans in his rage, published reports said.

Reach reporter Dustin Brown by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 154.

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