2004-04-02 / Front Page

Sealey Gets 25 To Life In Far Rockaway Shooting

By Brian Magoolaghan
Sealey Gets 25 To Life In Far Rockaway Shooting By Brian Magoolaghan

Charles SealeyCharles Sealey

The parents of 17-year-old shooting victim Tommy Johnson were relieved on Wednesday when the man convicted of killing their son was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.

Thomas and Juanita Johnson went to dinner with the rest of their family after the sentencing, not to celebrate they said, but to be together away from a familiar setting: the courthouse. In the last several months, Thomas and Juanita said, the trial of 23-year-old Charles Sealey elevated the torment that began three years and three months ago.

The Johnson’s, who regularly attended Sealey’s trial, had to excuse themselves from the courtroom a number of times when the testimony and photographic evidence became too much for them to bear. And they endured numerous delays and court proceeding postponements.

Finally, "That one chapter, that’s closed," Thomas Johnson said from home on Wednesday night. Juanita spoke of being strong for their other children while continuing to keep their son’s memory alive for as long as they live.

Sealey was convicted last month of murder in the second and third degree and criminal possession of a weapon before Queens Supreme Court Justice Ronald D. Hollie who imposed the sentence.

"The victim was a stellar student and star athlete at Christ the King High School in Middle Village who was slain in a senseless act of violence. I hope that his family receives a measure of solace knowing that the defendant has been sentenced to a lengthy prison term," said Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown after the sentencing.

Sealey and several friends became involved in a physical confrontation with a Johnson’s cousin on Beach Channel Drive and Beach 57th Street in Far Rockaway.A0Shortly thereafter, Johnson and three of his relatives approached the defendant in an effort to mediate the dispute.

During the discussion Sealey displayed a handgun prompting the victim and his relatives to leave. As the group walked away Sealey opened fire and discharged seven shots from a .380 semi-automatic handgun. A bullet struck Johnson mort ally wound ing him.A0Sealey turn ed himself in to the 101 Precinct a few days later.

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