New York - Sniper shows no remorse as he gets 384 years in prison

New York - Red-car sniper Matthew Coletta will be parked in prison for the rest of his days after a judge sentenced him to 384 years for a deadly shooting rampage through Queens.

Coletta, 39, told Queens Supreme Court Justice Michael Aloise the jury convicted the wrong man of the eight-hour terror spree that killed a father of three in 2006.

"I would like to thank God for being my strength, for being my rock," Coletta said.

"What happened to those people on August 26 was despicable and horrendous. I'm not guilty of all these crimes. I would like to thank you, your honor, just for showing up."

Retired UPS driver Todd Upton, 51, was fatally shot Aug. 26, 2006 when Coletta pulled up beside his red minivan and fired through the passenger-side window.

Coletta tried to kill 13 others, mostly targeting people in red cars, prosecutors say.

Aloise showed little patience for the burly drug-addled bricklayer's claims of innocence. The judge blasted Coletta for having "the audacity to stand up here and say you're not responsible for your actions."

He praised Upton's family for their strength over the four years they waited for the case to come to trial.

"They came in here not seeking vengeance but seeking justice," Aloise said. "They put their faith in the criminal justice system."

Aloise said he made a rare exception for Coletta by allowing him to wear rosary beads and carry a Bible into court each day. Typically, the judge noted, he would deny such requests because defendants use them as "props" to gain sympathy from jurors.

"I was hoping that you would get some spiritual comfort in those rosary beads," Aloise told Coletta. "I was hoping that by these rosary beads you'd find the strength of character to be a man."

Mary Upton held a framed family portrait of her, her husband and their three children as she told Aloise of the damage wrought by Coletta's rampage.

She derided Coletta for his "arrogant, narcissistic attitude" during the trial and his refusal to own up to the pain he caused her family and the others.

"You made faces, yawned, looked at your watch as if this bored you," Upton said. "You showed no remorse."

"If you had been a skilled marksman there would have been many many more," Upton added. "You retreated the scene like the coward you are."

Her daughter Erin stood at her side and recalled a father who would jump into their backyard pool with his kids after a long day at work.

"My husband will never get to walk his daughters down the aisle or see his son graduate college or high school," Upton said, choking back tears.

Daily News


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