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Man gets 6 years for killing teen outside Land O'Lakes party

Published Feb. 21, 2013

DADE CITY — Dustin Sean White loved wakeboarding and other extreme sports. He would have pursued a career in it, his family said.

But a shooting in a Land O'Lakes parking lot after a dispute at a party in 2009 left the 17-year-old Land O'Lakes High School student dead. It also resulted in the arrest of Douglas Gabriel Cevallos Jr., a 19-year-old acquaintance who picked up the gun and waved it just before it went off and killed White.

On Wednesday, members of both families sat in a courtroom as Cevallos, now 23, was sentenced to six years in prison and nine years of probation for manslaughter as part of a plea agreement.

"The family is not without compassion, but they wanted to see Mr. Cevallos take responsibility for his actions," said Luke Lirot, a Tampa attorney whose daughter had dated White and who helped the family work out the plea deal.

One condition of the deal requires Cevallos to lecture students about the dangers of alcohol and guns.

The family thought that was important.

"Maybe it will help someone in the future," Lirot said.

Cevallos said nothing during the hearing before Circuit Judge Pat Siracusa. His relatives declined to comment.

The incident happened in June 2009 during a fight outside a party, authorities said. Cevallos shot White with a .40-caliber handgun that had fallen from the pocket of someone involved in the fight.

"It doesn't look like he had the intent to shoot and kill White," Pasco County sheriff's spokesman Kevin Doll said at the time.

The teens had been at a party at 4508 Parkway Blvd. where alcohol and "other controlled substances" were being consumed, Lirot said.

During the party, two brothers were asked to leave for some reason, authorities said. White stayed inside the house.

The brothers went outside to the parking lot of a nearby clubhouse at Lake Padgett Estates East and got into a fight about 2 a.m. with other people who were at the party. White eventually went outside.

As one of the brothers was being beaten, the gun fell from the man's pocket. Authorities said the brother had a concealed weapons permit for the gun.

Then Cevallos picked up the weapon, waved it and fired the shot that killed White.

Lirot said White was "extremely popular" at school and "always polite" to him and his daughter.

"He was in the wrong place at the wrong time," Lirot said.

He said White and Cevallos, a Lutz teen who had no prior criminal record, knew each other.

"It's a horrible situation," he said.

White's father, Scott White, said his son was only three weeks shy of his 18th birthday. He said the family was satisfied with the sentence.

"This will help give us closure," Scott White said.

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