The driver who struck and killed 12-year-old Boy Scout Andrew McMorris of Wading River in 2018 was found guilty of all charges yesterday after a six-week jury trial in Suffolk County Criminal Court in Riverside.
Thomas Murphy, 60, of Holbrook was convicted by the jury of two counts of Aggravated Vehicular Homicide, a B felony; Manslaughter in the Second Degree, a C felony; Assault in the Second Degree, a D violent felony; Vehicular Manslaughter in the Second Degree, a D felony; two counts of Vehicular Assault in the Second Degree, an E felony; Driving While Intoxicated, an unclassified misdemeanor; two counts of Assault in the Third Degree, an A misdemeanor; Reckless Driving, an unclassified misdemeanor; and Reckless Endangerment in the Second Degree, an A misdemeanor.
“Thomas Murphy, in the ultimate act of selfishness, got intoxicated and made the decision – despite his friend’s efforts to stop him – to drive drunk. Because of that decision, he killed Andrew and injured several others,” Suffolk County District Attorney Tim Sini said.
“Mr. Murphy indicated that he would accept responsibility, plead guilty, and save the families the trauma of going through a trial, but at the last moment, he backed out. That’s the type of person he is: repeatedly putting his own interests above others. He exercised his right to a trial by jury, and that jury has spoken. He is guilty of all counts,” Sini said.
Murphy was driving southbound on David Terry Road in Manorville after leaving Swan Lake Golf Club at about 2 p.m. on Sept. 30, 2018, when his Mercedes SUV veered toward a group of 12 Boys Scouts and six Scout leaders from Troop 161 who were walking northbound on the shoulder of the roadway, Sini said.
Murphy struck the group with his vehicle, causing serious physical injury to Thomas Lane of Shoreham, and causing injury to Denis Lane of Shoreham and Kaden Lynch of Calverton. McMorris, who was transported to Peconic Bay Medical Center and then transferred to Stony Brook University Hospital in critical condition following the crash, succumbed to his injuries on Oct. 1.
Murphy had been drinking alcohol at the club since about 9 a.m., according to trial testimony. He refused a friend’s offer to drive him home.
“I made it clear from the outset that my office would hold him responsible, that we would offer no plea deal and that we will be seeking the maximum sentence,” Sini said. “Nothing will bring Andrew back, but justice today – I hope – will allow the McMorris family and all of the families affected to close this chapter and to start the long journey of healing.”
Murphy was arrested immediately following the crash by Suffolk County Police Seventh Precinct officers, who observed that Murphy had a strong odor of alcohol on his breath, had slurred speech, had watery, bloodshot and glassy eyes, and was unsteady on his feet. Murphy refused a roadside breath test and was transported to the Seventh Precinct, where he refused to submit to a chemical test of his blood.
The district attorney’s office secured a warrant for a chemical test of Murphy’s blood that revealed a blood alcohol content level of 0.13 percent approximately four hours after the crash occurred.
The jury deliberated for approximately one day before returning a verdict of guilty on all counts.
Murphy is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 21. He faces a maximum sentence of eight and one-third to 25 years in prison, Sini said.
Murphy’s attorney said his client will appeal the decision.
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