Suffolk police disregarded key evidence which proves that a Holbrook man charged with driving drunk into a group of Boy Scouts killing a 12-year-old, was involved in a “tragic accident” and not a crime, the defendant’s attorney said Monday in his closing argement.
Steven Politi told the Riverhead jury that prosecutors had failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Thomas Murphy, 60, was legally intoxicated at the time of the Sept. 30, 2018 crash, which killed Andrew McMorris and injured three other Scouts.
“This was a car accident and they want to make it into a crime,” Politi said.
Politi called Murphy, who did not testify in his own defense, a “decent” and “compassionate” man who was deeply upset by the tragic crash. And he urged the jury to disregard their emotions and focus only on the facts of the case.
“Don’t compound that awful tragedy with another tragedy,” Politi said, urging the jury of seven men and five women to acquit his client.
Prosecutors contend Murphy spent the morning of the crash drinking vodka with three friends at the Swan Lake Golf Course in Manorville before getting into his white Mercedes SUV, crossing over a white fog line on David Terry Road and crashing into a group of Scouts on a 20-mile hike.
In a more than three hour summation that stretched past the lunch break, Politi went through an exhaustive review of the evidence in the now six week trial.
He contends his client drank a maximum of six ounces of vodka on the golf course — not enough to make him legally intoxicated. A blood test administered four hours after the crash showed Murphy had a BAC of 0.13%, prosecutors said.
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Politi argued that witnesses to the Manorville crash offered differing accounts of where the children were located, how Murphy’s SUV exited the lane of traffic and if his client was unsteady on his feet and slurring his words.
“The evidence was conflicting, inaccurate and misleading,” said Politi, who argued that the scouts, poorly supervised by adults on the hike, wandered into the middle of the road where they were struck by Murphy’s vehicle.
And Politi said the evidence showed his client was not drunk at the time of the crash.