July 31, 2003
By Scott Shifrel
A former city correction officer who shot an ex-lover to death in a quarrel over child support was convicted of manslaughter - and he could be sprung from prison in less than five years.
Supreme Court Justice Evelyn Braun"s decision outraged the family of victim Felicia Cosby.
'Its like it was nothing, its like he's getting away with it,' said Cosby's brother, Keith.
The manslaughter conviction means Van Griffin, 38, faces five to 25 years in prison for killing Cosby at her Jamaica, Queens, home Nov. 6, 2000. He would have faced 25 years to life if he had been found guilty of second-degree murder in the nonjury trial.
But Braun, who found that Griffin acted under 'extreme emotional disturbance' when he killed Cosby, 26, defended the sentence. 'He still will be held responsible for this crime,' she said. 'He's not going to be excused.'
Braun agreed with defense lawyer Todd Greenberg that Griffin had brain damage from a 1996 motorcycle accident, suffered from depression and had other problems.
Prosecutor Stephen Antignani told the judge that Griffin brought on many of the problems himself. For instance, he had two other children out of wedlock with different women.
Griffin, who is scheduled to be sentenced by Braun on Sept. 9, cried as the judge issued her verdict.
'I know Van, and I know he's taking it even harder than he's showing,' said his father, Marvin. 'He never meant for this to happen. It just got out of control.'
Cosby's father, Keith Cosby Sr., said he hopes the judge keeps her word of a sentence 'commensurate with the crime.'
'I was looking for 25 to life, but it he gets 20 or 25 years, I can live with that,' he said. 'I'm just looking for some sort of justice, and I want the case to be over with.'