Christopher Cella, 20, of Medford, was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison on Wednesday, October 26 for hate crimes against day laborers, including strangulation and assault.
“The defendant targeted vulnerable individuals who only wanted to work, and terrorized them
with cruel and inhumane violence, “said Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond A. Tierney. “He will not have to pay for his crimes with prison. We will not tolerate abuse of anyone in Suffolk County regardless of ethnicity, race, national origin, or immigration status.”
Cella, who was 19 at the time of his arrest, admitted on September 17, 2021 that he picked up
his first 52-year-old victim at a deli in Farmingville. After promising the man work, Cella brought the man to an abandoned construction site where he proceeded to attack him – forcibly kissing him and soon putting him in a chokehold. The victim broke free and escaped.
Cella then returned to his home to switch vehicles, claiming that he did not want to be recognized since, “all those Spanish people know each other.”
He later appeared at a 7-Eleven in Medford. After meeting his second victim, age 60, and again promising work, Cella drove to Blue Ridge Condominiums, locked the doors, and began to strangle the man in his car. After about six minutes, the victim lost vision and consciousness.
A civilian came to the man’s assistance, while Cella fled the scene.
The next day, September 18, 2021, Cella returned to the same 7-Eleven in Medford where he met his third victim. Cella lured a 47-year-old Brentwood man into his car again, with the promise of work. Once the victim was in the car, Cella began to drive erratically down the street. The victim begged for Cella to stop, and instead, Cella increased his speed. The victim
then grabbed the gear shift and jumped out of the moving vehicle. Cella attempted to hit the victim with his car, and then got out to chase his victim on foot.
The entire altercation was caught on surveillance video.
On September 19, 2021, Cella was arrested after video evidence was examined and photo
Identifications were made by all three victims. The defendant pleaded guilty with a voluntarily written confession in which he detailed his crimes.
Per the Honorable Steven Pilewski, he was sentenced to half the time that was originally requested by prosecutors.