AMSTERDAM -- Three Amsterdam teenagers admitted Friday to their roles in the March killing of a city man.
Each pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter in the March 9 shooting death of 23-year-old Alexander Martuscello at a Glen Avenue address.
The man authorities believe fired the fatal shot, Raymond Matros, 18 at the time, is to receive 24 years in state prison. His younger brother, Anthony Matros, 16 at the time, and Christopher Malave, Jr., 19, are to each receive 10 years.
The three went to the Glen Avenue house to settle a score over drugs, Montgomery County District Attorney Kelli McCoski said. Their dispute was with others at the residence, not Martuscello.
He happened to be the one at the door when Raymond Matros fired a shotgun through it, McCoski said. Martuscello had been sleeping in the front room when the three arrived about 3 a.m. He died at the scene.
McCoski said she believes the sentences are appropriate in the case. The pleas avoid trials and she believes the three went there to injure, not kill, Martuscello. Therefore, Martuscello's death fits the charge of manslaughter, McCoski said.
"They were involved in activities that you don't think that young people would be invovled in and yet they were," McCoski said of the three defendants and their ages. "So if you want to act like an adult and commit a crime, you're going to get punished like an adult."
Anthony Matros could be seen crying and wiping his eyes with tissues for a portion of his plea. Two apparent relatives in the gallery also wept.
Anthony Matros' attorney, Mark Sacco, described his client afterward as an emotional young man.
"A 10-year prison sentence is a lot to handle for a young kid like that," Sacco said.
The three had each faced second-degree murder counts and up to 25 years to life in prison, if convicted.
Attorneys for Raymond Matros and Malave, Peter Moschetti and Derrick Hogan, left before they could be asked for comment.
Also attending was Martuscello's father. He sat in the back and spoke to McCoski afterward.
McCoski said he understands the reasoning behind the pleas. The family won't have to go through a trial.
"We all felt it was better to resolve the matter in the way that we did," McCoski said.
Both Matros brothers are technically eligible for youthful offender status because of their ages at the time. Malave is not.
The status, which is decided upon by the judge at sentencing, is usually seriously considered for lower-level offenses.
Raymond Matros' attorney did not discuss the status at his sentencing, but Anthony Matros' attorney reminded Catena that youthful offender must be considered. Catena said he would address it at sentencing.
McCoski will have a say, too. Afterward, asked if it should be granted in this case, McCoski said "absolutely not."