NEW YORK (1010 WINS) — It was one of the first murder convictions in the country in a fatal drunk driving case, and the conviction will stand.
In a 3 to 1 decision Thursday, the New York State Supreme Court Appellate Division ruled to uphold Martin Heidgen’s conviction.
However, he can still appeal to the state’s highest court — the Court of Appeals.
In July 2005, Heidgen was intoxicated while driving the wrong way on the Meadowbrook Parkway. He slammed his truck into a limousine leaving a family wedding, killing 7-year-old flower girl Katie Flynn and limo driver Stanley Rabinowitz.
WEB EXTRA: Heidgen Court Decision
Heidgen’s defense lawyers tried to convince judges that Heidgen was convicted of the wrong crime – murder – and he should have been tried only on the lesser charge of manslaughter.
Defense Attorney Jillian Harrington had made the argument that Heidgen left a party, got lost, ended up on the Meadowbrook Parkway in the wrong direction. “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,” Harrington said.
Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice differs. Heidgen was charged with murder by depraved indifference, she says, because he acted so recklessly others were likely to die. “His actions made the deaths of Katie Flynn and Stanley Rabinowitz inevitable. It was as inevitable as taking a gun and firing it at an individual who’s standing five feet away from you,” Rice said.
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.
“It makes me extraordinarily angry – he murdered my daughter, and now he’s dragging us through this again,” Neil Flynn said in January. “He’s self-centered and self-involved.”
Heidgen is currently serving 18 years to life in prison.
The Flynn family attended every day of the five-week trial, along with dozens of supporters.
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