Distraught Family, Friends Try To Come To Grips With L.I. 5-Year-Old’s Death

Call For Stiff Penalties Against Accused DWAI Driver Steven Kinalis

WEST ISLIP, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A Long Island man could face murder charges after police say he drove under the influence of drugs and killed a 5-year-old boy.

As CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan reports, the little boy and his family were heading to a Christmas tree farm.

Relatives said the grief-stricken Gaffney parents were inconsolable inside the family’s West Islip home on Monday. On the porch outside was a child’s car seat, chalk, and treasured faint etchings “mom-daddy” — printed on the door by a 5-year-old.

Kindergartner John Gaffney was killed during a trip out east with his dad, mom, sister and brother to buy the family Christmas tree when their pickup truck was violently rear-ended along the Sunrise Highway near Shirley by a driver who police say was high on drugs.

“We’re all washed up … we cry,” said Phyllis Gaffney, the little victim’s grandmother.

She said no one has been able to come to grips with the horrible, senseless heartbreak.

Her cherished grandson succumbed to his injuries at Stony Brook University Medical Center.

“A day and a half watching him die, for no reason. He was such a lovable boy,” the woman said.

Steven Kinalis, 30, was charged with driving while under the influence of drugs. He is being held on $150,000 cash bail. Suffolk’s district attorney believes charges will be upgraded. Inside the suspect’s Ronkonkoma home, a voice from within expressed condolences to the family of the 5-year-old.

Neighbors of the shattered family were also emotional Monday, saying such things as “heartbreaking,” “penalties should be much stiffer” and “Irresponsible … he’s irresponsible.”

“Very sad for the family having to be without a child at Christmas,” another neighbor said.

The community is now rallying around the Gaffney family, hoping to provide much-needed love and support during the holidays.

The next court date for suspect Kinalis is Wednesday. He will then learn if charges against him will be upgraded.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

  • Meme Meyagi

    what is done about 7 million mooslime terrorists living in usa?

  • diddy

    What a horrible, horrible and tragic story. Can anyone imagine losing a 5yr old around Christmas, anytime of the year for that matter? The sicko accused of doing this sickens me to my stomach. Honestly, once he’s convicted he should be released to the custody of the family. Better yet, send him to the CIA for water-boarding practice for noobies

  • DSM

    I just read this story and all the posts. From Mass so wasnt on news here.
    One person wrote “all politicians are drunken liars. They will never pass a law that affects them”. You can not imagine how true that is.
    This person must be made to suffer. His family must pay the price too as this little boys family will never have a normal Christmas from now on.

    Until the lawmakers are forced to pass tougher laws, nothing will change. people like this will continue to drive drunk or high. Many of you posters have probably driven intoxicated at some point in your life. Let this be a lesson to all.

  • Adam Brown

    Wow…is all i can say!! what a horrible tragedy! i knew Steve and he was a pill popping LOSER who stole and took advantage of everyone he knew! He borrowed money from people for drugs and never paid them back and now this? not a shocker for such a pathological Liar and drug addict! my heart goes out to the family. He still owes me money too!!

  • lieutenantdan

    Yes DanTe you may have hit the nail on the head. Yo forgot court personnel and lawyers. Too much drinking going on in this great country of ours and very little is being done about it. It is a big problem.
    I am glad I do not live in the burbs. You have to drive everywhere and it is apparent that allot of drinking and driving goes on making the roads unsafe for decent people. It seems as if the drunk driver kills others but always survives.
    This guy should get life.

  • Lori

    i am sick to my stomach …..that family and there loss …the man who did it will ever know …this wasnt a mistake …..@ all …..he needs to face those people and that family and feel and see there pain …..they should make a video and let that man watch the pain they are going threw ….i am so sorry for your loss i am a mom who lost a child and it was the hardest thing ever…..and i know this is worse when its someone who took your kids life …my heart goes out to those people

  • DanTe

    When will laws be passed so things like this gets charged with full murder and not a two year sentence for vehicular homicide? Oh wait, all politicians are drunken liars. They will never pass a law that affects themselves.

  • gotacomment

    JasonS, he’s not specifically “ugly”, but his facial expression plainly indicates he doesn’t think he did anything wrong and doesn’t give a damn about the fact that he killed a child. Nice guy.

  • MD

    I’ve known Steve for years and he was always a really good guy. It unfortunate for everyone involved that his decision to get behind the wheel while under the influence caused so much pain and suffering to this family and to his own. He’ll have plenty of time to think about what he did in jail and deservedly so but I think calling him a murderer is excessive. Manslaughter, yes, murder no. I’m sure he didn’t wake up that morning saying” I’m going to kill someone on Sunrise Highway today.” Regardless, hes going to get a decent prison sentence(at least 5-10 years) and hopefully he learns from his mistakes and repays his debt to society.

    • D

      He is obviously not the good guy you think he is. He murdered this little boy.

    • LI Father

      How many years is this little boy sentenced to?

    • Reading Girl

      Sorry but it is murder: if you drink/use drugs and drive you KNOW that you may be impaired enough to kill someone. Sorry but in my book it is just the same as planning a murder. Hope he rots in jail with plenty of time to think about his stupidity. My prayers go out to the Gaffneys.

    • VEGA

      No, he obviously didn’t get up and say I’m going to kill someone today BUT what he DID do is get into the car after doing drugs and knowingly COULD HAVE AND DID KILL SOMEONE. He was irresponsible and now someone is dead. A child, who didn’t deserve for someone to go have their fun and be on the road with a vehicle that could be as dangerous as a lit bomb.

    • Anonymous

      I knew Steve, and he was a pill popping loser, dirtbag…and he owes me $20 for which he borrowed and then quit his job the next day…

      • Johnny Utah

        Why did you lend a “pill popping loser, dirtbag” 20 dollars? Doesnt sound like a good investment. And what does the fact that he was a mortgage broker have to do with a car accident?

    • Some friend MD

      Its not excessive. Its exactly what he did when he decided to take the drug without a plan. Its clear he’s not a very good guy. He has issues.

    • Jean

      When he took drugs and got behind the wheel he took his and everone else’s life in his hands. He made a conscience decision to disregard the danger and that is the same as saying,”I’m going to kill someone today but what do I care?” I’ll bet he cares now. A car in the hands of someone who is under the influence of ANYTHING is a deadly weapon, same as a gun Handling it in his state makes him a murderer.

      • Johnny Utah

        This is a horrible tragedy but it makes me even more sick to see people convicting the driver before all the facts are out. It is alleged that the driver was on drugs but I did not read that he failed a sobriety test. It sucks that the kid died but do not rush to judgement until all the facts are out.

        • Anonymous

          Convict him – everybody knows he’s a deadbeat pill head…wait until you find out he was a mortgage broker!!! FACT!!!

  • JasonS

    That is one ugly son of a b!tch, perhaps the ugliest person I’ve ever seen.

  • Death Penalty lets vote on it

    $150.000 .00 bail he should have no bail.He drank took drugs and got in a car he murdered that little boy.It is amazing that law in the good ole USA is a joke he will be out in 5 years and odds are he will do this again.Hopefully he will meet a dark end and someone will get this loser so we do not have to deal with him again. This is sick knowing there are thousands of people daily who drive under influence it should be life sentence first time no second chances to kill.

  • VI

    God Bless this family in their time of sorrow. Incredibly sad! This guy shattered a family and caused tremendous pain with his carelessness. He should get what he deserves!

  • Jae

    This is sick. Our world is awful. I can’t even begin to know how this family is living through this.

  • ace11

    The Problem Here is…this guy didn’t kill himself in the crash

    Now we are going to have to spend Our tax payer money for this Parasite to have a trial

    He will NEVER get the Death Penalty when he clearly deserves it….

    Shameful..and right around Christmas as well

    Peace to the Family

    • yougotthatright

      So true. How many times I see some moron blow by me going like 80, weaving in and out of lanes of traffic – forget signals.

      Best thing that could have happened to this creep and others like him is he wraps himself and his car around a tree, it bursts into flames, and they die in a fiery crash!

      • Grandpa

        Many people have fast reaction time to handle driving at 80 mph to 100mph and have the cars capable of it. Just because you don’t doesn’t mean its a dangerous but I digress since what you brought up has nothing to do with this killer. Speed does not kill, Grandpa. You sound like a left lane hog driving at 55mph and gets the finger of people blowing by at “sonic speed” of 80mph. hhahaa

        • arrogantsonsobitches

          The epitome of ignorance and arrogance.

          May one of your front tires blow out during your 80 to 100 MPH journey. If your reaction time is fast enough to come to a controlled stop without killing yourself, you get to change your soiled underwear and learn from your experience. Otherwise, the cleanup is just that much more messy.

  • LI Father

    I would be more than happy to pull the switch to electocute this SOB. My the Gaffneys and their little angel be at Gods side. I cannot even imagine the heartbreak they are feeling.

  • A Loser

    Steven Kinalis is a murderer. A loser at life. A complete failure. Steven Kinalis is a low life. Steven Kinalis has brought shame to his family.

  • Caroline Sauers

    Put him to work for the next 20 years with parents who lost children. Make him work in a childrens cancer ward fro the next 20 years. Sterilize him so that his idiot genes do not continue on upon this earth.
    Prison is too good for him. 3 squares.
    A family still will be without its child for this Christmas and every one afterwards for life.
    That family is serving the REAL life sentence.

  • Diane

    I worked with his mom. What a wonderful family. It breaks my heart to know they have to go through this terrible pain. We can only hope Mr. Kinalis gets the most the courts can give him. I pray for John and the rest of his family. May he rest in peace. God Bless the Gaffney/Murphy families. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.

  • KK

    Steven Kinalis should NEVER be allowed to see the light of day again.
    He is a self indulgent SOB that got high and decided to get behind the wheel of a vehicle (and it probably wasn’t the first time).
    I don’t care if he’s remorseful. He should be made to suffer. It took that poor baby a day and a half to die!!!!
    Better yet…put him on the road HIGH with his own family…keeping it in the family sounds best to me.
    No mercy…

  • Esmerelda

    The drug murderer should be executed.
    He is of no use, he destroyed a family and
    the future of an innocent little boy.
    Send him to the chair !

    • D

      I agree. This whole story is just disgusting. Hearth wrenching.

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