TOMS RIVER — A Monmouth County man was sentenced to 45 years in prison for the 2015 murder of a retired New York City firefighter at a home on Long Beach Island, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office said Friday.

Conrad R. Sipa, 56, of Colts Neck, was found guilty in April of killing Richard P. Doody Jr., 60, between Nov. 21 and 23, 2015, at Doody’s home in Barnegat Light, Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer said in a statement.

The jury found Sipa guilty of murder, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, unlawful possession of a weapon, hindering apprehension and tampering with physical evidence, Billhimer said. Prosecutors said he used a knife, a golf club and a lamp to kill Doody. Defense attorneys argued Sipa was defending himself against an intoxicated and belligerent Doody, the best man at his wedding.

Superior Court Judge Rochelle Gizinski said Sipa beat his friend with a ceramic lamp until it broke, then slashed his throat with a knife, leaving him to drown in his own blood. Gizinski said Friday there wasn’t “one scintilla of evidence” to justify what she called a “brutal murder.”

Gizinksi sentenced Sipa to 40 years in prison for the murder and weapons charges and five additional years for the hindering and tampering charges, Billhimer said. Sipa must serve at least 85 percent of his sentence before he can be considered for parole.

Maureen Fanning, a sister of the victim who works as a teacher in New York City, said when her brother needed rescue “no one who cared about him was there to save him.”

Virginia Murray, Doody’s widow, said her husband was enjoying retirement, and she couldn’t wait to be with him on the weekends.

“Just having someone ripped from your life without getting to say goodbye is a tragedy unto itself,” she said. “I have received a life sentence.”

Sipa called the victim not merely a friend but “a confidante, a mentor, a brother” he missed every day.

“I am not a violent man. I did not commit murder. I acted in self-defense,” he said. The judge turned down a defense request for a new trial and rejected a call for a 30-year term.

Many attending wore FDNY T-shirts with “The Dood” on the back beneath a 2008 quote from Doody in the Staten Island Advance following the rescue of a 260-pound football player from a car wreck: “We do what we do out of love for what we do.”

“Hopefully this very lengthy prison sentence, which amounts to a life sentence due to Sipa’s age, brings some measure of closure to Doody’s friends and family, many of whom were present throughout the trial and today,” Billhimer said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Staff Writer

Twenty years as a staff writer in the features department, specializing in entertainment and the arts at The Press of Atlantic City.

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