Tuesday September 1, 2020
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A white man who fatally shot his sister’s Black boyfriend in a confrontation at home was sentenced to 7 1/2 years in prison for manslaughter on Monday.
Mark Cardilli Jr., 25, contended he shot Isahak Muse in self-defense during a confrontation that escalated early on March 16, 2019, after Muse refused to leave when asked by Cardilli’s parents.
“I wish the events of that night never happened,” Cardilli said Monday in court. “It was a tragedy for both of our families.”
Justice Nancy Mills said after emotional testimony from both families that she expected no one would be happy with the sentence. She said mitigating factors in determining the sentence included Cardilli’s remorse, his military service and his lack of a criminal background.
Cardilli faced a minimum of four years in prison because a firearm was used. The maximum penalty for manslaughter is 30 years.
The shooting created tension in Portland’s Muslim community. Some called it a hate crime by a white man against a Black Muslim man.
The confrontation happened when the 22-year-old Muse, who was dating Cardilli’s 17-year-old sister, refused to leave the Portland home at the request of her parents, witnesses testified. Pandemonium broke out, and Cardilli retrieved a handgun from his room.
Cardilli testified he shot Muse after getting punched in the face and fearing Muse, who was unarmed, could gain control of the weapon. He told police he shot Muse in the chest, but an autopsy showed Muse was hit in the back.
Muse’s parents came to the U.S. from Somalia. Some of his siblings testified about the family’s loss on Monday.
The defendant’s mother, Suzanne Cardilli, told the judge that her son was “protecting his family.” She praised him for being “loving,” “caring” and “non-judgmental.”