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Maspeth teen admits killing: DA

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The defense attorney for Michael Desiderio, 18, of 54-43 66th St. said he convinced prosecutors to lessen the charges to manslaughter from murder by presenting blood tests that showed the defendant was high on drugs when he assaulted 18-year-old Trinidad immigrant Richard Richardson June 13 in Maspeth. "He was anxious to accept responsibility and we were able to convince the DA that what happened here was really an irrational act that was caused only because he was high on cocaine and alcohol," said defense lawyer Robert Gottlieb. "But for that combination this would have never happened."State Supreme Court Judge Dorothy Chin sentenced Desiderio to 15 years in prison Monday. The original charges carried a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison. "He is incredibly remorseful," Gottlieb said. "He knows, unfortunately, that he can't bring back a life. But he's willing to accept the punishment that 15 years brings."Richardson, a popular ladies' man who was homeless and living with a friend, had found work as a bus boy a week before he was killed. His mother threw him out of their Ridgewood several months earlier. The 18-year-old was crashing at a two-story house at 57-39 Maspeth Avenue, which neighbors said was a hangout for neighborhood youth. Desiderio killed him inside the house after the two had an altercation over a pillow, Richardson's friends told the TimesLedger back in June. Richardson pointed a pellet gun at Desiderio, who responded by slicing his former friend's head, face and hand with a long metal sword, according to his friends and the DA. Desiderio fled and was later arrested a few blocks away at his mother's house. Reach reporter Matthew Monks by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

Updated 7:02 pm, October 10, 2011
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