In a state court in Nassau County, Long Island, businessman Charles Palevich admitted that he left the scene of the accident in February 2021, in which Robert Marage was mortally wounded while walking on the road to Minneol.
Palevich first got out of the car and looked at the victim on the ground, but then left without calling 911, left the car in the garage and covered it with tarpaulin, authorities said. Palevich pleaded guilty to falsifying evidence by concealing a car.
64-year-old Marai died at the hospital the next day.
Judge Howard Sturim said Palevich would receive “no more than one year in prison” along with community service and revocation of his license. The 71-year-old is to be sentenced on August 3.
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The victim’s widow, Carol Marage, told reporters she was “dissatisfied” with the planned verdict. The widow, who is suing Palevich, said that when she saw him in court, she was shaken by memories of her husband fighting for his life in hospital.
Prosecutors seeking one to three years in prison also spoke out against the planned sentence.
“Given the seriousness of the defendant’s conduct, we do not agree with the court’s obligation to pass a verdict,” said Brendan Brosch, a spokesman for the Nassau District Attorney’s Office.
Palevich’s lawyer, Mark Gunn, called the fall “completely uncharacteristic” for his client, who hails from Long Island but has a business drilling and purifying water in Guam.
“He really feels great sympathy for Mr. Marage’s family and great remorse for any role he played in his death,” Gunn said by telephone after the trial. He suggested that Palevich may have had a medical problem that made him “not fully aware of what he was doing”, but noted that this was not a legal excuse.
Reports were sent to representatives of Nicki Minaj, who last year on her website called her father’s death “the most devastating loss of my life”.
Grammy-nominated platinum rapper – known for tracks including “Anaconda”, “Starships” and “Super Bass” – was born Onika Tanya Marage.
In an interview many years ago, she described a troubled relationship with her father. But she later said he had changed.
After his death, she wrote that she would like to pick up the phone and talk to him.
“He was very loved and will be very sad,” she wrote.
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