MANORVILLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – The man accused of drunk driving and killing a young Boy Scout faced a judge on Thursday.
While it was not a full-on admission of guilt, Thomas Murphy, 59, of Holbrook did something unusual.
“I take responsibility for my role in the tragic accident that occurred on September 30, 2018 that resulted in the death of a wonderful boy,” defense attorney Stephen McCarthy Jr. read as part of a statement from Murphy.
Police said the suspect was behind the wheel of a white SUV that struck five Boy Scouts walking along the shoulder of tree-lined David Terry Road in Manorville. The boys range in age from 12 to 16 years old and were accompanied by adult chaperones.
Detectives said Murphy stayed at the scene as the victims were taken to the hospital. Andrew McMorris, 12, of Wading River, later died of his injuries.
On Thursday, his attorney said Murphy was too sad and remorseful to read his five-sentence statement himself.
“I am deeply sorry. Myself and my family offer our prayers and our deepest condolences to the McMorris family during this extremely painful and difficult time,” McCarthy read.
Police said 15-year-old Thomas Lane, of Shoreham, was seriously hurt, while 16-year-old Denis Lane, of Shoreham, 15-year-old Kaden Lynch, of Calverton, and 15-year-old Matthew Yakaboski suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
Red ribbons now hang throughout Suffolk County to honor Andrew and the other four injured scouts. According to the complaint, Murphy told responding officers he had three drinks at the Swan Lake Golf Club.
“I will cooperate fully during their investigation of this tragic accident,” Murphy’s statement continued.
According to Richard Mallow, Executive Director of New York Mothers Against Drunk Driving, there are no accidents in drunk driving crashes.
“It doesn’t matter at all, a young boy is gone,” Mallow said. “You get in the car after allegedly consuming alcohol and killed a boy and injured four others, they need to be held accountable no matter what letter they write.”
Murphy’s statement is not a legal admission of guilt, so the criminal case is proceeding. He remains free on bail facing DWI charges. For now, upgraded charges are pending.
Andrew McMorris’ parents did not comment Thursday on the attorney-read letter, and the head of the Boy Scout council would only say this remains a very difficult time.