Man Appeals Murder Conviction In Notorious L.I. Crash

NEW YORK (CBS 2/1010 WINS) — It was one of the first murder convictions in the country in a fatal drunk driving case, after a  flower girl and limousine driver were killed in the wrong-way crash on the Meadowbrook Parkway.

Now, defense lawyers are pushing for a new trial, reports CBS 2’s Magee Hickey.

“It makes me extraordinarily angry – he murdered my daughter, and now he’s dragging us through this again,” father Neil Flynn said. “He’s self-centered and self-involved.”

1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera with Katie Flynn’s father, who is angry about the appeal

 W880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs on the appeal

heidgen appeal 001 Man Appeals Murder Conviction In Notorious L.I. Crash

Margo Aponte and Kurt Heidgen, parents of Martin Heidgen, at NYS State Appellate Court, Brooklyn. (Photo/Mona Rivera)

The family of seven-year-old Katie Flynn can’t believe that they may have to relive that painful night again.

In July 2005, after a joyous family wedding, convicted drunk driver Martin Heidgen was going the wrong way on the Meadowbrook Parkway and killed the flower girl and limo driver Stanley Rabinowitz. Now, Heidgen’s lawyer is trying to reverse that murder conviction.

In arguments that lasted for more than an hour, defense lawyers tried to convince the judges that Heidgen was convicted of the wrong crime – murder – and he should have been tried only on the lesser charge of manslaughter.

“He left a party, got lost, ended up on the Meadowbrook Parkway in the wrong direction,” defense lawyer Jillian Harrington said. “It was a horrific, tragic accident that was a result of that, but that’s not what the New York State Court of Appeals says is depraved indifference murder.”

The defense also argued that police mishandled blood evidence indicating how drunk Heidgen actually was. The case was the first in Nassau County in which a drunk driver was convicted of murder.

“I’m all for that, go right ahead,” Flynn said. “Find every drunk driver who kills someone guilty of depraved indifference homicide. If that’s the policy, sign me up.”

Heidgen’s family is hoping the murder conviction will be overturned.

“He’s coping with the situation,” father Kurt Heidgen said. “We love him very much, and hopefully the court will make the right decision.”

Martin Heidgen is currently serving 18 years to life in prison. An appellate ruling could come in the case within weeks or months.

The Flynn family attended every day of the five-week trial, along with dozens of supporters.

  • Katie's cuz


  • Owen

    Wow, Casey Anthony murdered her own daughter and gets off while Marty had an accident and has to serve much longer than what fit the crime. Our justice system is a joke!!!!

  • g

    Wow all you people wishing death sound like MURDERS… MY heart goes out to the the families that lost a loved one 2 people died here not just one… to wish death on someone is no better ,,, this was accident that could have been avoided if the guy did not drink. Yes he should serve time but he is not a murder …. murder is intended…. He should be charged with a lesser charge ,,,,, i hope the judges do the right thing …… He is not a murder…. there is a big difference ,,,,,, for all the idots wishing death if you don t believe in killing people how could you say the man should die … we all make mistakes ,,,,,,, and alot of times people are unfairly sentenced,, everyone deserves a 2 chance…. Just remember the simplest thing you do can change your life forever…peace and love should be spread not hate and violence ……….

    • Dan

      Second Degree Murder, depending on the state, does not have to be a direct result of wanting to kill someone. A Second Degree Murder charge can stem from a blatant lack of regard for human life itself. Driving with a high BAC definitely falls under this.

      You might want to brush up on both your grammar and legal knowledge before making a comment next time.

    • Kim

      to be honest, if you followed the case the whole time, you would know that the driver (Martin) drove MILES on the wrong side of the road before hitting the limo. Many people called to report him, flashed lights at him, etc. The problem isn’t that he DRANK, the problem is that he got behind the wheel of a car and KNEW what he was doing. He stated earlier that day that he did not want to live anymore and apparently didn’t care who he took with him. I’m not saying it is right to want him to die, on the other hand, I believe he should stay in jail FOREVER … this was not the first DWI he had so he did get his second chance and he killed two people with it!

  • Owen

    First of all I am Marty’s Cousin and I want to say what he did was not right. It was not right to drink and drive and take a little girl’s life. Now have saying that do you not think he doesnt think every waking moment of what he has done? Nobody here or in the state of New York know him. They make him out to be an animal. We grew up together and where best friends and cousins since we could talk. Marty is one of the greatest, kind-hearted, educated guys you could have ever known. He would go out of his way to do anything for anybody.
    He has family as well that want to see justice served. He didnt commit the act of murder. He made a very bad decision and deserves spending time but not the sentance he received. He is also well educated and having him locked up does no good. He is nothing like the other inmates he is serving with. They could use him to talk to high school students around the nation as a punishment. He has more education than 90% of America and can be productive in society. It is a shame to have him locked up. We all love you Marty and you know you will have job and life with our family when you get out. I cant wait to have you sitting in the office beside me using your ambition and creativity at the firm.
    Let the truth be known about this well loved man and let justice be served in the right way. Im sick of all the “Christians” on here judging and talking about “God”. Did Jesus not say turn the other cheek? And Judge not, unless you be judged first? Like Gahdi said, “I like your Christ, but not his Christians”

    • Dan

      You lost all credibility when you talked about how “educated” he was.

      First, the superficial: An “Educated” 24 year old insurance salesman? What sort of education did he have, a no-brainer two year degree? Or some a BA in some humanities major at a no-name state college?

      Now, the real meat of the situation: “Educated” people can think outside of their own existences. “Educated” people can extrapolate why exactly they shouldn’t be driving when intoxicated in the first place. “Educated” people can understand that with drunk driving, the cons definitely outweigh the pros. In short, “educated” folks aren’t selfish or narrow minded enough to only think of life from their own, singular perspective.

    • Kim

      Dan, he might be very well educated and he should go speak to high school and college kids about his experience but he also needs to pay for what he did. I too am a relative of someone that was involved in the accident and to be honest, I dont think there is any reason for him to get out before 18 years are served. I’m sure he thinks about what he’s done every day but we also think about what he’s done. Him being able to walk away from the accident with a few bruises/broken bones is not fair to those that couldn’t walk away at all… those that perished (RIP Katie & Stan) as well as those that are still undergoing therapy dealing with the repercussions of the accident.

  • steve

    this guy chose to drive drunk before this terrible tragedy. Then he did it again. So we should be nice to him and let him out again….so he can do it again? NOT!

  • amy

    He killed somone’s beautiful child. He has torn apart a family. He deserves the sentence.

    • Randy

      The Flynn family is living with their life sentence, without any possibility of parole.

  • Ron

    Life in jail. This guy is a murderer.

  • Cap309

    This falls under wanton disregard or gross negligence, based on the law stating that a reasonable person can foresee consequences from drunken driving. Since most people will agree that driving drunk endangers people, he cannot be tried for involuntary manslaughter, but rather voluntary manslaughter or murder, depending on the case. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need premeditation for it to be murder. Most likely, the court will see this as wanton disregard, which is usually tried as murder, since it involves a person who ignores the dangers of his actions and willingly does something illegal despite the consequences.

  • Danielle

    Wow this board sounds like a bunch of killers! You all are wishing death and horror on a man who made the horrible choice to drive with intoxicated. This man is not choosing to put this family through anything again. This family is choosing to drag themselves through their daughters death again. All the anger and hate in the world will not bring their daughter back. Before you all judge this man let me ask you this….have you ever drove with any alcohol in your system, any of your family members, friends, anyone? Yes he made a trgic mistake that led to horrible loss and pain for many involved but to say that he deserves to be in a prison cell rotting for the rest of his life is crazy to me. This is why America has one and ten males in prison. This man is not a cold hearted killer. However, all you people screaming for his death and destruction sound like it! I do not beleive he deserves to site in a prison cell for the rest of his life being tortured by CO’s

    • Josh

      I’d be fine with him spending the rest of his life in prison. You can argue about fair all you want….but what is fair to that little 7 year old or that 24 year old limo driver…..where is their “fair”.

      I hope this guy dies in jail.

      BTW, my limit when I drive is zero. Never been in an accident, never had a DUI, no one in my family has died from a drunk driver….just common human decency.

      I hope this guy dies in jail, I wouldn’t loose a wink of sleep.

    • atc

      You are obviously someone that has either been on the wrong side of a DWI charge or knows someone that was. Do you even know the story here? They were coming from a wedding when this piece of human garbage (never mind the stuff he pulled while in jail in an attempt to thwart the evidence collection and testing), drove with over 2x the legal limit, the wrong way on the Meadowbrook parkway (which has got to be difficult unless you come in from the end at the beach) and crashed head on into the limo. The driver, who was a couple weeks shy of becoming a grandfather was killed and Katie Flynn was decapitated from the seat belt (DECAPITATED). Her mother spent the next hour sitting on the side of the highway holding the severed head of her oldest child in her hands while ems crews worked to get her other daughter, husband and parents out of the wreckage – all because of this man’s CHOICE or MISTAKE? Using your logic, when does anyone ever have to faces the consequences of their actions or choices?

    • ArranWebb

      He may not be a cold hearted killer in your eyes but he has revealed the capacity to be so repeatedly careless as to endanger all those around him. To keep the rest of us safe from this man he should be held in captivity.

  • jtorres

    Maybe the law as written is manslaughter. Have you considered that maybe the law is WRONG as written? If you choose to drink and choose to drive afterward, the car becomes a deadly weapon. Same as a gun. If he fired a gun into a crowd and killed the same 2 people, would you excuse it because there was no premeditation or intent and he only did it because “he was drunk”? I didn’t think so

  • Barbara

    Let him rot… Not depraved indifference homicide.. are they kidding me…
    ‘so wanton, so deficient in a moral sense of concern, so lacking in regard for the life or lives of others, and so blameworthy as to warrant the same criminal liability as that which the law imposes upon a person who intentionally causes a crime.
    He knew he was drunk and he intended to drive anyway without any concern for what might happen to innocent victims.. Not the first time he drove drunk.. this time he caused irreparable damage….Not such a big man now.. is he? makes me sick

  • Cocohoney

    Killing someone when you are drink driving IS NOT AN ACCIDENT. It takes a CHOICE to drink and drive, you get behind the wheel drunk and your vehicle becomes a weapon. You are worse than foolish if you are not fully aware of the possibility that you will crash and kill. It’s not complicated. The other details are irrelevant. If you kill someone when you are drunk and driving a vehicle you are a murderer.

  • The Good Samaritan

    He did not receive a fair trial. This should have been a vehicular manslaughter conviction not murder.

    He got convitced of murder because the girl was 7 years old

    The Good Samaritan has spoken.

  • Chula

    Let the time fit the crime – manslaugher due to intoxication – not intentional murder – two lives were lost – this man already feels the pain of that accident – The law must be applied to what it is – no matter how angry people feel about this.

    • Katie's cuz

      OK – you want to let the time fit the crime. Katie was 7, so say she had another 60 – 70 years left to live – Stan was in his 50’s, so we’ll give him another 20. Sound fair? So, instead of 18 to life, how about letting him rot in jail for 80 – 90 years? For the all the years he took from them and us????? I for one would be willing to go along with that, as I’m sure some of my family would!!! He got off easy. We didn’t.

      • Dan

        I feel he should rot. Granted it was an accident. He was told by his friend to stay where he was and he didn’t. The Flynn family is now morally and emotionally devastated. I for one feel for the Flynn family. He took a 7 year old girls life. He took a man in his 50’s life as well. Put your self in their shoes and tell me if you daughter or niece or nephew or father was killed by a drunk diver, you wouldn’t feel the same way. I lost my girlfriend almost four years ago due to a drunk driver and he got out in a grand total of 1.2 months. So i think the legal system is STUPID. Give him life or better yet the chair. I almost had to spend 15 yrs in prison for burglary that I didn’t do. So for something this man did and even a lesser charger isn’t worthy, he should if anything get the worst charge EVER. IF the Flynn family reads this i am deeply saddened by your loss, and i hope you guys can cope with this mans ignorance

  • SLS

    Murder means to kill intentionally and with premeditation. Although the accident he caused was utterly devistating it was just that…an accident. Time should be served for the crime he committed: driving drunk and unintentionally killing 2 innocent people. He should not be punished for murder, a crime he did not commit.

    • atc

      You are as wrong as wrong can be. 1st degree murder is to intentionally kill with premeditation. Second degree murder is to kill with reckless indifference as to life. It is also known as “depraved heart” murder, the classic example of which (was cited here by someone else), firing a gun into a crowd or even into a house that someone thinks is abandoned. This piece of human garbage does not belong seeing the outside of a cell. To the families of both Katie and Stan, you have my never ending sympathy.

  • Kieran

    The law is the law – as it’s written he was convicted of the wrong crime. Simple as that.

  • Karen

    I have a daughter Katie’s age and this slime is my worst nightmare. I don’t think he would last too long on the outside….too many people hate him for that unforgettable night.

  • Terry

    I can’t believe there is a lawyer who wants to put this family through additional heartache. If the courts allow it, he should go away for life without parole if they lose. Still want to roll the dice Marty? Take the 18 and rot you heartless piece of garbage.

  • Erika W

    you make me sick. Do your self a favor – Stop breathing.



  • mike torres

    i’ve done time in fed and state prison’s in new york. and all i got to say to him is fk u rot in prison.

  • Steve M.

    I guess he just doesn’t get it….Sounds as if he’s STILL drunk…

  • NY Chris

    What a creep!!!!! Let him rot!!!!

  • Linda B

    Face up to your crime! Do the time – ALL OF IT. Katie cannot be here to grow up. So you should grow down.

    • rablen

      Nicely put. I agree completely.

  • Omar

    Let him rot in jail. It’s a shame that he’s even entitled to an appeal for killing two people.

  • Diane Schuler

    Awwww, the l’il puzzy can’t face the music. Marty, you shoulda thought about that BEFORE your drunk-azz got behind the wheel.

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