His home, his mother and his brother are among the many things Louis Telese stole from him, Eigen told a judge Wednesday during the sentencing of the man convicted of their murders.
In consideration of those losses, Nassau County Court Judge Joseph Calabrese handed Telese two 25-years-to-life sentences, to run consecutively, for the 1984 murders of the Oceanside mother and son, Susan and Richard Eigen.
"Evidence of your guilt was overwhelming," Calabrese told Telese, who sat still in a dark-blue suit as he listened to the judge's decision. "They were horrific murders. They had a certain sadistic quality to them. In that sense they were almost ritualistic."
Michael, who was 11 at the time, found the body of his mother, Susan, 41, nude and bloodied - she had been sexually assaulted before she was killed - in a hallway of their Ocean Harbor Drive home. Later he found Richard, 17, tied to a bedroom railing with a plastic bag over his head.
Calabrese told Telese he found no reason to show any mercy toward him, because the method in which he murdered his victims was "designed to inflict the maximum pain and suffering," and because he has "shown no remorse" for his actions.
Before he was sentenced and after four Eigen family members addressed the court, Telese spoke briefly, expressing his deepest condolences to them, and added that he remained "steadfast in my innocence."
When Michael Eigen addressed the court, he said he was haunted by the time, four years after the murders, when he and his teenage friend were on a boat with Telese, whose cousin lived next door to him. He claimed Telese was drinking and smoking, talking all about himself and how miserable his life was.
With poster-sized photos of his mother and brother behind him, Eigan said he was further haunted by the ugly portrait Telese painted of his mother in his defense during the trial.
After Susan and Richard were found murdered on Feb. 26, 1984, their case went unsolved until 2002, when, through DNA technology, police matched a thumbprint traced to Telese that was found on the plastic shopping bag used to suffocate Richard. Two strands of his hair were inside the bandanna used to strangle Susan Eigen.
Telese, 45, of Rockland County, had applied for a bus driving job in 1988 that required him to have his fingerprints taken. He was arrested on June 5, 2002.
During the trial, Assistant District Attorney Robert Biancavilla charged that Telese intended to and did rob the Eigens to support a cocaine habit. He assaulted and murdered Susan during the burglary, and he killed Richard when he entered the house in the midst of the crime, Biancavilla claimed.
Telese's attorney, Michael Washor, claimed his client was at a family gathering the day of the murders, and attempted to create reasonable doubt by raising the possibility that other individuals who know the Eigens may have committed the crimes.
Outside the courtroom after the trial, a subdued and teary-eyed Michael Eigen told the Herald that Telese was a "casual acquaintance," and that during the few times they had met, he never mentioned his mother or brother. Asked if Telese ever expressed his condolences, Eigen said, "No."
In addition to Michael, three other relatives of the victims addressed the court. Al Eigen, Susan's husband and Richard's father, turned to Telese and said, "What you did was the most horrific crime." He told the judge that there was no sentence that could match Telese's crime, but asked that the convicted murderer be given the maximum. Making a similar request, Eugene Kaye, Susan's brother, asked the judge through tears and deep breaths, "As you sentence this person, please take into account the callousness of his crime."
Emotionally unable to attend the sentencing, Karen Eigen, the daughter and sister of Susan and Richard, had her best friend, Wendy Woods, read a statement, which said in part that Karen had "lost her childhood" the day of the murders, and indicated that she was mystified that anyone who could commit such crimes didn't live "a life of anguish," but could still maintain his innocence.
Emerging from the courtroom, Washor said he would appeal, claiming there was a lot of evidence that implicates other people in the murder that the judge excluded. "There was a tremendous amount of forensic evidence," he said. "... I hope to exonerate [my client]."
Michael Eigen told reporters that Telese's maintaining his innocence "goes to a pattern in this man's life." He said that now that Telese would be behind bars for at least 50 years, "a certain portion of my mind is at ease," and said he would put this part of the nightmare behind him and go on with his life.
"I hate the fact that I'll have to worry that as a 79-year-old man I may have to deal with this again when he comes up for parole," Eigen said. "I hope that his natural life will not let that happen."