HAUPPAUGE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A Suffolk County judge issued an ultimatum to an admitted drunk driver who killed a boy scout last fall.
Thomas Murphy, of Holbrook, says he’s sorry but has yet to plead guilty.
Tuesday morning, the judge said take responsibility or face a trial.
“I, Thomas Murphy, remain heartbroken over the loss of a wonderful boy,” read defense attorney Stephen McCarthy, Jr. He read another apology in court for Murphy, who admits he was drinking at a golf course before plowing his car into a group of Boy Scouts, killing 7th grader Andrew McMorris.
“For my role in this tragic accident I am so very sorry,” McCarthy read.
But apologies have not yet been followed by the legal acceptance of responsibility: a guilty plea.
“All of our scouts, everything that we have done is honorable. What this man is doing is not honorable,” said Andrew’s mother Alisa McMorris. “He deserves his earthly consequences to what he did to my child, and what he did to all of the Scouts.”
“This was an assault on the Boy Scouts of America, and we are going to fight this,” said Andrew’s father John.
The heartbroken parents say they expected a plea months ago, reported CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff. So did the more than 100 boy scouts and supporters who packed the court clutching photos of Andrew.
Instead, they heard Judge Fernando Camacho issue a stern warning.
“I was told you were seriously considering a plea to spare the family pain and suffering of a trial. I believed you. I’m out of patience. It appears this is nothing more than an attempt on your part to delay the conclusion of this case. I will not have it. There will be no more delays,” Camacho said.
And then an ultimatum: He gave Murphy two weeks to decide, or else a trial will begin in early June.
The McMorrises say they will accept whatever punishment is offered. But what about Murphy?
“Why not just accept responsibility if he continues to apologize?” Gusoff asked.
“I have no other statement, thank you,” McCarthy said.
All of this took place just days after what would have been Andrew’s 13th birthday, and a flight in memory of the multitalented boy, who dreamed of being a pilot.
“We are teaching our children to do the right thing. This man needs to do the right thing,” John McMorris said.
“My son was was given a life sentence,” said Alisa.
“We were all given a life sentence. This man needs to be held accountable for what he did,” John said.
Murphy faces 8-25 years in prison if convicted at trial. The DA’s office has not said what sort of plea deal it is offering him.
He will be back in court May 2. A trial will begin in early June is there’s no plea.