On the morning of Saturday, October 15, 37-year-old Peter Rodriguez drove a car the wrong way down the Long Island Expressway service road at 58th Road when he collided with a livery cab, killing George Gibbons, the 37-year-old owner of the popular Maspeth bar The Gibbons' Home.
Rodriguez then fled to Connecticut, where he was caught and arrested in November.
Rodriguez walked into the Queens Court room on the morning of Friday, April 20, wearing grey slacks and a white long-sleeved shirt. He faced straight ahead throughout the proceedings, never looking at the roughly 40 Gibbons family members in attendance, who all wore green to honor George.
George Gibbons, Sr. held his face in his hand as he looked at his son's killer for the first time.
“I was just angry that he had taken my son,” he said through tears outside the courthouse after the proceedings.
Although prosecutors originally pushed for 15 years to life, Rodriguez would have gotten an even lesser sentence than the 3 ½ to seven if it weren't for a prior felony attempted drug trafficking conviction he was convicted of in 2004.
Since 1992, he has been charged with 10 felonies and nine misdemeanors, according to records obtained by this paper. He was convicted on four of the felony charges and two of the misdemeanors.
“You look at his history and obviously he's had an impact on other people's lives,” said Gibbons' brother Brendan Gibbons. “He shouldn't be on the streets in the first place and obviously he's going to impact someone's life again.”
He will be sentenced on Monday, May 7, when family members will read impact statements with the hopes of getting him the maximum time.
“No time is ever going to be enough,” said Gibbons' sister Siobhan McEntee.
When asked about the family's plans to speak on May 7, she said, “we're all going to tell him what kind of person he took from not only the family, but the community.”