RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Jury deliberations began Tuesday in the trial of the man accused in a drunk driving crash that killed a Long Island Boy Scout.
Following hours of powerful summations in the Boy Scout death case, the judge charged the jury, the courtroom packed with family and supporters of Andrew McMorris, the 12-year-old victim, and Thomas Murphy, the 60-year-old defendant.READ MORE: Reaction Pours In To The Death Of Gen. Colin Powell
It was a trial filled with gut-wrenching testimony, tears and overwhelming emotion, CBSN New York’s Jennifer McLogan reports.
“I prayed that he would do the honorable thing and take responsibility for what he did,” Alisa McMorris, the victim’s mother, said. “And here we are today and we have to wait for 12 people to decide that for him, when he could have done it himself.”
It is now in the hands of the jury — seven men and five women.
Did Murphy, of Holbrook, “recklessly and selfishly” get behind the wheel of his SUV after a morning of drinking vodka on a golf course — even after a friend tried to take his keys — and drive drunk into a group of Boy Scouts, killing Andrew McMorris of Troop 161, hiking on a Manorville road?
“We were given a life sentence without Andrew, but we pray that justice is done because we don’t want this to happen to anybody else,” John McMorris, the victim’s father, said.Trial Date Set For Actor Cuba Gooding, Jr.
But the defense tells jurors it was clearly a tragic accident.
“Disregard emotions. Focus on the facts,” the attorney for Murphy told jurors, calling his client a “decent and compassionate man” who was not legally intoxicated at the time of the crash. He said that Suffolk police disregarded key pieces of evidence and claimed the Scouts were poorly supervised and wandering.
“I’m optimistic because I don’t believe the people proved their case,” defense attorney Steven Politi said. “I expect they are going to do their job back there and eliminate emotions.”
Murphy maintains he is not guilty of the 12-count indictment. The judge dismissed four of the counts. The jury is now considering charges of aggravated vehicular homicide, assault and driving while intoxicated.
“Whatever the verdict, it doesn’t change what happened, but maybe, maybe it will make people make a different choice,” Alisa McMorris said.
If convicted of the top count, Murphy faces 8-and-1/3 to 25 years in prison.MORE NEWS: Report: Subway Crime Appears To Have Increased In September
The trial is now entering its fifth week.