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Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice recently announced that an East Meadow man has been sentenced to two years in prison by a Nassau County judge after pleading guilty to throwing a detachable car stereo from a moving vehicle at a 16-year-old boy standing on the side of the road, rupturing the boy's spleen.

Rice said that on Oct. 24, 2008, Christopher Criswell, 22, and three friends were returning from a pickup football game at nearby Speno Park in East Meadow. The DA said that Criswell, in the front passenger seat, saw two boys who had also been playing in the game riding their bicycles home. According to the DA's office, Criswell and another passenger began arguing about who would be the one to throw a detachable car stereo, weighing between 10 and 15 pounds and cased in metal, at their targeted victim.

Criswell pleaded guilty to Assault in the Second Degree on Feb. 27. He was sentenced Monday by Nassau County Judge Susan T. Kluewer.

The Nassau County DA reported that Criswell took the car stereo and threw it at the boys, hitting the 16-year-old victim in the back as he stopped his bicycle to take a call on his cell phone. The victim collapsed on the ground before eventually making it home, and then to the hospital. At the hospital he was discovered to have a ruptured spleen, which was immediately removed during surgery, Rice stated.

Rice reported that Criswell told investigators in a written statement that he threw the stereo as "a goof." Without a spleen, a person's immune system is significantly compromised, as it is a key component to the body's defense system.

"A young boy is permanently injured because a grown man decided it would be fun to hurt him," Rice said. "Hopefully Mr. Criswell will use the next two years to turn his life around."

Assistant District Attorney Brendan Ahern of the DA's Vehicular Crimes Bureau is handling the case for the District Attorney's Office. The defendant is being represented by the Legal Aid Society of Nassau County.


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