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.

Do you agree with the court’s decision? Sound Off below

Comments (10)
  1. VY says:

    His actions climbed to the level of murder because his action of drinking in a place where he knew he had to drive to leave where he was drinking, is premeditation.
    He had to say to himself: “I’ll stop at this bar, have a drink, and drive to my next place”. So he decided to drive after drinking BEFORE he drank, knowing he had to drive after drinking.
    So any life he took after drinking was a premeditated act of willfully planning to drive while intoxicated.
    Once you plan to drive after drinking, you are responsible for any damage your impaired driving causes.
    He sghould have gotten a longer sentence.
    That law should be made stronger, but that law is a good first effort.

    1. Owen says:

      It costs more money for the tax payers to keep him in jail than go to court. It will just go to a higher court where it will eventually get overturned. He has already served 6 years and will be out in no longer than 6 years. Why waste money on keeping him in jail. He would leave sorry New York and come back to the south. He isnt a threat to anybody. You think he would want to go back to jail? He has been sober for 6 years and wouldnt take another drink. I forgot everybody lives by the old testiment eye for an eye instead of following Jesus and turning the other cheek. There is one judge. Free Marty and let him get out of your state. He is no threat to NY anymore. He lived there 6 months before this happened and I am sure he would love to get out of the state.

  2. Carlos Liriano says:


    1. Owen says:

      Are you even an American? You sound like an illegal. Either that or have no education

  3. Ty says:

    He should get the death penalty

    1. Owen says:

      God will judge you for those feelings and judgement. Judge not unless you be judged first

  4. Marie Palmieri says:

    The judges are to be commended for doing their jobs…and rendering the only opinion that makes any sense in light of the facts of this case.

  5. Legal Advocate says:

    In light of the dissenting opinion, it is expected that leave to appeal to the Court of Appeals will be granted. So the opportunity for further review is still available.

  6. Joyce Rabinowitz says:

    Three of the four judges were paying attention and did their job. Obviousloy, the other one should have been reading all the reports and looking at the evidence and testimony before he or she made such an egregious decision on Heidgen’s appeal. Now justice will be served and my family and the Flynns will not have to go back to court and the taxpayers will not have to pay for another trial. Heidgen deserves to stay in prison because that’s where criiminals belong.

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