A Mineola man who killed rapper Nicki Minaj’s father in a hit-and-run last year was sentenced to one year in jail, acting State Supreme Court Justice Howard Sturim announced on Wednesday.
Charles Polevich, 72, is also required to pay a $5,000 fine and have his driver license suspended as part of the sentencing, officials said. In May, Polevich pleaded guilty to charges of leaving the scene of a fatal auto accident and tampering with evidence after Minaj’s father, Robert Maraj, 64, was killed in February 2021.
Carol Maraj, Robert’s widow, called the sentencing “a slap on the face for the family” in court Wednesday, according to Newsday. She said Polevich “left him like a dog on the street,” according to Newsday.
Efforts to reach Maraj for comment were unavailing.
Polevich, according to multiple reports, admitted he initially stopped after hitting Maraj before he fled the scene and left Maraj on the side of the road. Maraj was taken to a local hospital, where he was first listed in critical condition, according to the police.
A few days after Maraj’s death, officials from the Nassau County Police Department arrested Polevich, who hit Maraj with his white 1992 Volvo station wagon.
Brendan Brosh, spokesman for the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office, previously said prosecutors recommended that a sentence for Polevich be between one to three years. Brosh, in a statement, said the office disagreed with the sentencing.
Polevich is the owner of an environmental drilling and water purification company located in Guam, according to multiple reports.Marc Gann, Polevich’s attorney, told the newspaper that it was “completely out of character” for his client to leave somebody on the side of the road, saying he may have been suffering from a “medical issue” following the incident.
Carol Maraj filed a $150 million lawsuit against Polevich in 2021, according to court documents. The lawsuit, filed in State Supreme Court of Nassau County in early March, claims Polevich was negligent and careless in his actions.
The litigation appears to be ongoing, according to the online court documents.
In several interviews, Minaj, whose real name is Onika Tanya Maraj, has said her father carried out various forms of abuse, ranging from drugs and alcohol to setting her childhood house in Jamaica, Queens, on fire while her mother was still inside.
“It’s the price you pay when you abuse drugs and alcohol,” Minaj said in a 2010 Rolling Stone interview. “Maybe one day your daughter will be famous and talk to every magazine about it, so think about that, dads out there who want to be crazy.”
Minaj said she was not physically abused by her father in a 2015 interview with The New York Times, but said his actions caused emotional harm to her and her mother.
“I would always hear him yelling and cursing, always,” Minaj told The Times. “And it made me feel it was the way to interact because that’s how I saw him interacting.”‘
Several reports indicated Minaj and her father’s relationship had later improved, with the rapper saying Maraj “was very loved & will be very missed.”