Relatives of the victims of the Father's Day at a Medford pharmacy got their chance Thursday to address the two people behind the tragedy during sentencing for David Laffer and Melinda Brady.
Mary Moran, the grandmother of 33-year-old victim Jaime Taccetta, called Laffer "the devil's boy" as she laced into the stone-faced Laffer inside Suffolk County Criminal Court in Riverhead.
"It's very hard to look at him because I don't understand why you did it," Moran said of the robbery turned quadruple homicide at Haven Drugs on June 19.
"Burn in hell," Moran told Laffer.
Laffer, who guilty to five counts of murder (with one charge for mass murder), was sentenced to four consecutive life terms in prison and the judge recommended that he spend all of his time in solitary confinement. Laffer's wife, Melinda Brady, who pleaded guilty to first degree robbery for her role in the crime, which authorities said was planned to "feed an ugly addiction to prescription painkillers," was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Laura Bustamante, the daughter of 71-year-old victim Byron Sheffield, of Medford, said her father went into Haven Drugs that morning to pick up medication for his wife, who just the day before had left the hospital following heart surgery. The Sheffields would have celebrated their 50th anniversary on July 16.
"I have always been my father's little girl," Bustamante said. "I can't comprehend that I will never hear him call me that again. No one loves you like your dad."
Asked if she wanted to address Laffer, Bustamente said: "I have nothing to say to him. He's not worth it."
Officials said Laffer took 10,000 hydrocodone pills from the pharmacy after the shootings, which Suffolk County Police Commissioner Richard Dormer has "one of the most heinous, brutal crimes" he's ever encountered.
The shootings left four people dead, including 17-year-old Jennifer Mejia, of East Patchogue, just before from her senior prom.
"The most beautiful person was taken from us in the most brutal way possible," the Mejia family, who were not present in court, said in a statement read by Assistant District Attorney James Chalifoux.
"You took my sister and my parents' princess in a matter of minutes," Jennifer's younger sister said in the statement, of Laffer and Brady. "We cannot condemn you for all the pain you caused. God will do justice."
The last line in the statement, "Beauty never lasts in this ugly world."
Mejia, who was an employee at Haven Drugs, and pharmacist Raymond Ferguson, 45, were killed first on that Sunday morning. Officials said Laffer held a gun inside a backpack and while engaged in a discussion with Ferguson, he lifted up the bag and pulled the trigger.
With Ferguson clutching his stomach and lying on the floor, Laffer walked behind the counter, now with a .45-caliber pistol in view, and shot Mejia twice, killing her. He then walked back over to Ferguson and shot him twice in the face at point blank range, officials said.
Taccetta, of Farmingville, and Sheffield were both ambushed and shot in the back of the head as they entered the pharmacy moments apart after it opened that morning. The entire incident was captured on surveillance cameras in the store.
After the victims' families spoke Thursday, Laffer read a prepared statement. He did not utter the word "sorry."
"So many lives have been tragically and permanently altered because of my crime," said Laffer, who suggested that maybe some good could come out of the murders if prescription drug abuse and doctor shopping are brought into the limelight.
"To ask forgiveness of them would be a selfish act," Laffer said of the victims' relatives.
Brady, 29, was sentenced prior to Laffer on Thursday and kept her head down and was in tears through most of the hearing. Wearing a blue blouse, Brady, who grew up in Sayville, looked to have gained weight since she was along with Laffer outside their Medford home three days after the shootings.
"You are always and every day in my thoughts and in my prayers. I am so sorry for the loss of your loved ones and the pain and suffering you are going through," said Brady--who some of her health issues and her use of painkillers on a local wedding website prior to her 2009 marriage to Laffer--to the relatives of the victims. "That awful day will haunt me for the rest of my life and as I know it does yours."
Judge James Hudson wasn't buying it, calling Brady's apology "self-serving and insincere."
"You are more sorry for yourself than you are for the families or the victims," Hudson said.
In addressing Laffer, Hudson said the 33-year-old deserved no mercy.
"You warrant only the scorn of this community, the victims' families and this court," he said.
Hudson also made note of Laffer's demeanor throughout the hearing. Laffer, dressed in blue prison garb and a long white sleeve t-shirt, kept his head up and looked directly at the relatives as they spoke on the stand. He did not display any emotion.
"I want the record to show that you have not shed one tear despite all of the statements from victims today," Hudson said of Laffer. "Not one tear."