Richard C. Alicea Sr. already lost his son to drug traffickers. On Friday, a federal court jury spared him from going to prison with the two men convicted of killing his son.
Alicea, 45, of Jamestown, was acquitted in U.S. District Court of being part of a drug ring that sold more than 3,000 pounds of marijuana and nine pounds of methamphetamine in the Southern Tier.
Alicea had spent the past six weeks sitting in the same courtroom as his son's killers, his co-defendants Aaron B. Pike, 28, and Gregory R. Pattison, 34, both of Jamestown.
Alicea's attorney, Angelo Musitano, had argued that associating with drug dealers did not make him one.
Acquitted with Alicea was Matthew Harrison, 27, of Jamestown.
Already facing life sentences on the state murder charges, Pike faces another life sentence on the federal charges and Pattison at least 30 years, according to Thomas S. Duszkiewicz, the federal prosecutor.
Pike and Pattison were convicted last year of murdering Richard C. Alicea Jr. and Johnny Houston, 22, of Charlotte, N.C. Their bodies were found in a car in May 2001 in the Chautauqua County town of Gerry. Alicea Sr. was never implicated in his son's killing.
Police said the younger Alicea was murdered because he stole 100 pounds of marijuana and $80,000 from the drug ring, and had become a police informant.
His father was charged as part of the drug gang based on information turned over to agents by his son, and a statement from his wife that he received packages of drugs at home.
Daniel Diaz, 37, of San Diego, another member of the ring, took a plea and testified against his former partners. He is expected to serve 35 years in federal prison.
Pattison was represented by attorney Peter Pullano, and Pike represented himself, with attorney Daniel J. Henry appointed to assist him.