By Sebastien Malo
NEW YORK (Reuters) – A former Long Island banana importer was sent to prison on Friday for as long as four years for beating his girlfriend, despite her emotional courtroom appeal to a judge for leniency.
Thomas Hoey Jr., 46, the wealthy owner of now-bankrupt Long Island Banana Corp, was sentenced in state court in Manhattan about a month before he is to be sentenced in federal court in the unrelated 2009 death of a woman who joined him in a three-way sex party.
In the state case, a jury had convicted Hoey, of Garden City, of third-degree assault and tampering with evidence in the in the 2012 beating of Alison Bretherick on Manhattan’s Upper East side.
Hoey entered the courtroom in handcuffs on Friday, winking at Bretherick before she made a plea for mercy on his behalf to Judge Daniel Fitzgerald.
“I miss him every day,” she said in an emotion-choked voice, denying that Hoey had assaulted her.
“My life and city was taken from me along with my happiness of living with my boyfriend,” said Bretherick, a former University of Pennsylvania swimmer.
Hoey then told the judge: “I love Alison and I would never hurt her.”
Apparently unmoved, Fitzgerald handed down the maximum sentence for the most serious count – tampering – of up to four years in prison. He also extended an order of protection aimed at keeping him away from Bretherick for five years.
“The assault was vicious, there was blood,” the judge said.
According to court documents, a neighbor called authorities after hearing cries, and Hoey tried to clean up blood leading from an apartment door to a stairwell before police arrived.
Hoey told police, who saw his girlfriend’s red and swollen face, that the blood had come from him picking his nose, court documents said.
In the 2009 fatal sex romp case, Hoey is scheduled for sentencing on March 27 following a deal that could send him to prison for up to 11 years for conspiracy to distribute cocaine, conspiracy to suborn perjury and obstruction of justice.
He was accused of delaying a call for help afterone sex partner, Kimberly Calo, at Manhattan’s ritzy Kitano Hoteloverdosed on cocaine.
Hoey admitted to providing the drugs and was accused of pressuring the other participant, Nicole Zobkiw, his then girlfriend, to lie in court. Zobkiw has since died of a suspected cocaine overdose.
(Writing by Barbara Goldberg; Editing by Susan Heavey and Grant McCool)