What to Know
- A jury has reached a verdict in the case of the man accused of driving into a group of Boy Scouts
- Thomas Murphy was accused of hitting five Boy Scouts in 2018 as they walked along a Manorville street in September, killing Andrew McMorris. He was allegedly driving drunk at the time of the crash and refused to plead guilty
- Murphy rejected a plea deal at least three times and allowed out of court free to the frustration of the boy's parents
A jury has found the man accused of driving into a group of Boy Scouts, killing a 12-year-old and injuring others, during a drunken accident on Long Island last year, guilty on all nine counts -- including vehicular manslaughter.
The trial against Thomas Murphy has proven to be an emotional one from the start given that it surrounds the death of a little boy. However, actions taken by Murphy left many frustrated, angry and, at times, helpless.
Murphy -- who rejected a plea deal at least three times and allowed out of court free to the frustration of the boy's parents -- was accused of hitting five Boy Scouts as they walked along a Manorville street in September, killing Andrew McMorris. He was allegedly driving drunk at the time of the crash and refused to plead guilty.
During one of Murphy's plea deal rejections a Suffolk County judge blasted Murphy in front of the dead child's family and friends.
"At this point, I am out of patience," Suffolk Acting Supreme Court Judge Fernando Camacho said in April. "This is nothing more than an attempt to delay the conclusion of this matter. I will not have it. There will be no more delays."
Compounding the family's frustration -- Murphy's lawyer had repeatedly pledged he would pleaded guilty. Every time they fill the courtroom. And every time he walks out without acknowledging what he did.
Murphy allegedly had been playing golf and drinking large amounts of vodka at Swan Lake Golf Club before he hit the group of boys on Sept. 30, 2018, prosecutors said. He was initially charged with DWI, but was later indicted on 16 criminal charges, including aggravated vehicular homicide, second-degree manslaughter and aggravated driving while intoxicated.
Murphy allegedly refused a ride from a colleague in the club’s parking lot before he locked himself in his car, according to prosecutors.
On his ride home, he swerved onto the shoulder of the road and drove into five scouts who were walking in a single-file line with parents and several other scouts, prosecutors said.
Andrew McMorris succumbed to his injuries. A 15-year-old boy was left with serious injuries, and a 16-year-old boy and two 15-year-olds suffered non-life threatening injuries, according to police.
However, earlier this month, the judge revealed an issue with the blood alcohol level test which meant that four of the more serious charges Murphy faced -- including DWI, vehicular assault, aggravated vehicular homicide and vehicular manslaughter -- could have been tossed out.
The revelation was that a toxicology expert failed to provide key notes to the defense that indicated Murphy's blood alcohol level could have been lower than the threshold needed for these charges, according to the defense attorney. The notes indicated that when Murphy was accused of killing the young boy while driving his SUV, Murphy was given an alcohol blood test four hours after the crash by prosecutors found him to be legally drunk. However, the toxicology expert testified that later estimates puts Murphy's alcohol level even higher at the time of the crash -- thus justifying more serious charges.
"The witness knew that, I presume the DAs knew that, yet they tried to trick the jury with it and thankfully we caught them," Steve Politi, Murphy's attorney, said at the time.
A development that also prompted the judge to voice his frustration: "These counts are not legally sustainable. How did we get to this point? That's my frustration."
However, to Alisa McMorris, the young boy's mother, it is of little consolation.
"None of that matters to me," she previously told News 4 earlier this month. "We know he was drunk."