A Long Island man is accused in the hit-and-run death of a woman jogging on a Sunday morning in June after prosecutors say blood on his car matched her DNA.
Thomas Costa, 31, of Coram, was arraigned Wednesday on a charge of leaving the scene of an accident. He pleaded not guilty and was held without bail pending another court appearance Tuesday.
"We intend to have him exonerated," said Costa's lawyer, John Ebel when reached by phone. "These are only charges. We anticipate he will be absolved of those charges."
Karen Benjamin, 56, of Coram, died more than three weeks after the crash. The physician's assistant had been jogging in Mount Sinai when she was struck.
The vehicle fled the scene, but a witness provided investigators with a partial description.
According to Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota, police going door to door found Costa's 2001 BMW in the backyard of his parents' Mount Sinai home, not far from the crash scene.
Tests on blood found on the car matched DNA from the victim, Spota said. And a car mirror left at the accident scene was matched to Costa's car.
Costa is already on parole for burglary and drug possession.