MINEOLA, N.Y. -- Surrounded by prosecutors, the sorrowful Dagdeviren family of Levittown said Friday they waited for this day.
"Now my family can start to heal and start to have some kind of closure," said Ceyhun Dagdeviren.
Cemal Dagdeviren, his Turkish-born father, died in harrowing fashion that received national exposure in 2019.in the gas station parking lot he managed by a man trying to flee without paying.
Joshua Roston, 37, of Baldwin was sentenced to 25 years to life for murder and robbery in the hit-and-run.
"One of the most senseless cases I have ever seen in my career as a prosecutor. Over $22 worth of gas, Cemal was killed," said Nassau District Attorney Anne Donnelly.
Cemal, known as John, was beloved in the community. For more than two decades, many patrons went out of their way to get to his service station.
"He was the nicest man in the whole world," one woman said.
Ceyhun, an FDNY firefighter, said he, his brother and mother will never be the same.
"He was truly a great man," said Ceyhun. "Respect, hardworking, everything that brought us to where we are now."
Roston's family, who are community leaders in Baldwin, did not speak. A jury learned their son had a history of filling up at other gas stations and speeding away without paying.
"The incident that led to his death was five seconds. It happened so quickly," said defense attorney Joseph Lo Piccolo. "And unfortunately, the deceased was right there and he went right over him. It's a horrible accident."
But Roston hit the gas and dragged their father, according to the Dagdeverens, who are once again trying to get through the holidays without their patriarch.
"The empty seat, you just know the presence is not there. It's been very tough since then," said Ceyhun.
Roston apologized in court to the tearful family, but deflected responsibility. He said he acted out of fear and pledged to pray in prison.
If Roston serves the minimum, he would be 62 when released. His attorney said they will appeal.
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