Mark Caraway, left, was sentenced to 50 years to life in prison on Wednesday for the 2016 stabbing of Suffolk Police Officer Michael Cummings, who attended the hearing. Photo Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan
A schizophrenic Central Islip man who nearly sliced off a police officer’s nose was sentenced Wednesday to 50 years to life in prison for the attack.
Both Suffolk prosecutors and the defense agreed that Mark Caraway, 42, suffered from a severe mental illness on Aug. 13, 2016, but differed on whether he knew what he was doing was wrong. A jury sided with prosecutors last month and convicted him of aggravated attempted murder of a police officer, attempted assault of three other officers and other charges.
In a Riverhead courtroom filled with both police officers and Caraway’s family, State Supreme Court Justice John Collins told Caraway before imposing the sentence that he had “no place in civilized society.”
Collins noted that Caraway has been committing violent crimes since he was 13 years old — including shooting a man to death in Levittown in 1993. Collins said that although Caraway suffers from a severe mental illness, that is no excuse for stabbing Suffolk Police Officer Michael Cummings twice in the face.
“A civilized society needs to protect its protectors, and when they are attacked, the response must be swift and complete,” Collins said.
Caraway, now heavily medicated with antipsychotic drugs, apologized from his wheelchair. He was shot in the abdomen during the attack.
“I apologize to the officer,” Caraway said. “I didn’t know what happened. I heard voices in my head. The voices kept saying that somebody was going to kill me. That’s why I barricaded myself in the room.”
Assistant District Attorney Laura Newcombe said the seeds of the attack were planted on July 27, 2016, when Caraway had an altercation with his girlfriend and smashed her television. Then on Aug. 8, while at a homeless shelter, he pulled a knife on a worker there, Newcombe said.