A Long Island mother says she is angry that a man charged with killing her teen son and his childhood friend in a car crash will be offered a plea deal.
Margaret Massina, of Sayville, said the accused man, David Heise, was "a loaded gun" and that her son, Stephen Massina, and his friend, Eugene Franjola, "just got in the way."
This week, Massina learned Heise, 28, would be offered a plea deal that would require him to plead guilty to criminally negligent homicide and an unrelated heroin charge. His prison term would run up to four years.
Heise, his mother and lawyer came to Suffolk court in Riverhead Thursday to hear details of that plea deal.
Heise, of Selden, left court without comment and without deciding whether to accept the deal. If he doesn't, he would stand trial and, if convicted, could be sentenced to up to 13 years.
"I am just trying to get justice for her son and my son," said Eugene's mother, Barbara Franjola, who also watched the proceedings in court.
The mothers had feared Heise's plea deal would be more lenient, only calling for one year in jail.
But the judge, James F.X. Doyle, assured them Heise would not get off that easy.
Still, friends of the victims questioned whether even this plea deal was a fair one. They had rallied Wednesday at the crash site, demanding justice for the two Connetquot High School students.
The teens were killed when Heise's pickup truck sped through a red light on Veteran's Memorial Highway and smashed into the BMW driven by Franjola, according to prosecutors.
Heise was driving with a suspended license at the time, prosecutors added.
Four months after the crash, while out on bail, Heise was arrested again, this time for heroin sale and possession. He has been convicted of drug possession at least four times since 2004, prosecutors said.
Despite that record, police never checked Heise for drug use after the crash. Investigators had no indication at the time that he was high, according to police.
Heise is due to return to court next month with a decision on accepting the plea deal.