In court, a Spencerport mother watched as her son pleaded guilty to serious crimes. Not too long ago Vincenzo Zagari was an All Greater Rochester wrestling star.
In January, he shoplifted at the Pittsford Wegmans, tried to car-jack a woman and threatened to shoot a deputy. He also tried to rob a bank the day before.
Zagari's mother says her son is sick and drugs are to blame.
"He's a good kid and we stand by him no matter what. He's always going to be a great kid. He's got a good heart and I'm just broken hearted," said AnnMarie Zagari, Zagari's mother.
Zagari glanced back at his family as he recalled what happened on the day he was shot by a Monroe County Sheriff's Deputy. The 22-year-old agreed to a 12 year sentence.
"The prison will be a lot better place for him. He will be treated better. They have programs for schooling and stuff. He did do some college. He is a very, very intelligent kid," said AnnMarie.
As part of the deal, Zagari agreed to a maximum sentence of seven years for menacing Deputy Bridget Davis and trying to car-jack a woman's van. He'll also receive another five years for the attempted bank robbery which happened the day before. That sentence could have ran longer without a plea.
"I don't take the crime away from him. He has taken accountability for his actions and I applaud him for that. He's growing up. He's clean and he's growing up right now," said AnnMarie.
Zagari's mother says a drug addiction led to his demise. The star athlete suffered a shoulder injury which caused him to take pain pills.
"When that happens, you don't know what to do as a parent, it catches you unexpected and not knowing what the addiction is and how fast it takes your child down," said AnnMarie.
Zagari's mother says he made the decision to take a plea deal on his own. The shooting left him seriously injured, but she says there's a reason he lived.
"I believe he survived because he will be making changes in the world and helping other kids," said Zagari.
A formal sentencing will take place on September 16.
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