MINEOLA, N.Y. (AP) — A man who has spent 14 years in prison for killing his abusive father was granted a new, shorter sentence on Wednesday that allows him to be freed under a recently enacted state law permitting sentence reductions for some domestic violence survivors.
Mulumba Kazigo had been sentenced to 20 years in prison, following his 2006 guilty plea to manslaughter in the 2005 killing of his father, Dr. Joseph Kazigo. The then 26-year-old son beat his sleeping father, 67, with a baseball bat and slit his throat at the elder Kazigo’s Long Island home, authorities said.
State Supreme Court Justice David Sullivan on Wednesday vacated that sentence, and resentenced him to five years in prison, which the time Mulumba Kazigo has already spent behind bars more than covers.
Kazigo, who attended the hearing virtually from Sing Sing prison, said he was “in shock,” Newsday reported.
“All I can do is try to pay it forward,” he said.
Even at the time of the original sentencing, family members begged for leniency, saying the father had abused his son and his siblings for years, and that Kazigo had acted after learning his father was beating the children’s mother.
In May of last year, the Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act went into effect. The law allows some incarcerated survivors of domestic abuse to apply to have their sentences reduced.
Newsday reported that earlier this year, legal advocates from the Legal Aid Society in Nassau County and Brooklyn Law School’s Criminal Defense and Advocacy Clinic filed for Kagizo, now 41, to get a new sentence.
Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas’ office joined in the application.
“The Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act was written to help survivors of abuse like Mulumba Kazigo, who are imprisoned for protecting themselves.” she said in a statement on Wednesday.