NBC 4 New York
A Long Island man was sentenced to up to 16 and a half years in prison for killing a 5-year-old boy in a crash while driving high on prescription drugs. Greg Cergol has more.
A Long Island man was sentenced to up to 16 and a half years in prison for killing a 5-year-old boy in a crash while driving high on prescription drugs.
Steven Kinalis, 32, of Ronkonkoma, wept openly in court and declared "I don't want to live" at the sentencing Monday.
Under a plea deal, a Suffolk judge ordered that Kinalis serve up to 16 and a half years in prison for the December 2011 car crash in Shirley.
Kinalis has admitted to driving high on prescription drugs and speeding when his car slammed into the Gaffney family truck on Sunrise Highway.
John Thomas Gaffney died from injuries suffered in the crash. He was traveling with his parents and two siblings to buy a Christmas tree.
"Every day I question why his life was taken and not mine," said Kinalis, as he stood facing a courtroom filled with Gaffney's family members.
"I am sorry because when I look at that boy and what I did, I don't want to live."
Earlier, Gaffney's mom Teri addressed Kinalis directly, saying several times, "My son is dead because of you."
"You should have died that day, not my son," Teri Gaffney said.
At times, she referred to a photo of her son and a painting of his hand prints.
Gaffney's father Kevin stood alongside his wife. Both were also injured in the crash.
According to prosecutors, Kinalis had filled 150 drug prescriptions from different doctors in the weeks leading up to the crash.
"Your crime fills all good people with horror and revulsion," said Judge James Hudson.
"The sentence is woefully inadequate."
After listening to Kinalis' apology, Gaffney's grandmother called him a "liar" who was merely acting.
"I hate him with every fiber of my body," said Catherine Murphy.