On Friday, the hit-and-run driver who murdered Nicki Minaj’s father pleaded guilty to felony counts of leaving the scene of a fatality and tampering with physical evidence. According to the judge, he will serve no more than a year in prison. In a hit-and-run in February 2021, Charles Polevich, 71, struck and murdered Robert Maraj. Maraj was 64 years old when he died. Polevich — who eventually confessed — fled the scene after first stopping and noticing Maraj’s serious injuries, according to authorities. (Maraj was taken to the hospital and died as a result of his injuries.) Polevich, who resides on Guam but owns a home in Mineola, was arrested and charged a few days later.
Polevich was driving a 1992 Volvo Station Wagon, which is “more unique than newer autos,” according to Nassau County Detective Lt. Stephen Fitzpatrick during a press conference at the time. Police were able to trace the vehicle back to Polevich’s residence using video footage from nearby cameras. Polevich admitted to striking Maraj before fleeing without reporting the incident to authorities during his plea hearing on Friday. According to Newsday, Polevich confirmed that he buried his Volvo behind a tarp when he arrived home.
According to the site, Acting State Supreme Court Justice Howard Sturim explained the terms of the plea deal to Polevich and said, “I’ll sentence you to no more than a year in jail.” Polevich was originally sentenced to 11 years in prison. According to the news outlet, after his release, he will do community service and his license will be suspended. The Nassau County District Attorney did not respond to a request for comment from PEOPLE right away.
Carol Maraj, Nicki’s mother and Maraj’s wife, expressed her unhappiness with the decision, saying, “That does not sit well with me… a year in prison. That does not satisfy me “Newsday reports on this. “I was angry, very, very angry,” Carol told the publication of seeing Polevich in court, adding, “I started to shake because it brought back all the memories of that night when I was sitting in the hospital.” Polevich will be sentenced in August, according to Patch.
Polevich’s lawyer, Marc Gann, told Billboard that his client is “very sorry for any involvement he may have played in Mr. Maraj’s murder.” “Mr. Polevich’s life story is one of service to others, so this case is so out of character,” Gann told Billboard. “There are no charges of substance addiction or misuse as a cause of Mr. Polevich’s behavior, and we believe that a medical heart condition had a role in his actions. Mr. Maraj’s death saddens me greatly, and I am deeply saddened.”PEOPLE reached out to Gann for comment, but he did not answer right away.
Nicki finally spoke out about her father’s passing in May 2021. On her website, the 39-year-old issued a lengthy letter to her fans “”Though I can’t bring myself to talk about my father’s death just yet,” the rapper wrote, “I can say it has been the most heartbreaking loss of my life.” I find myself always wanting to call him. Now that he’s gone, it’s even worse. That’s the way life is.”