CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (WCBS 880) — The Long Island man accused of driving drunk and hitting a group of Boy Scouts, killing one, last year has decided to go to trial rather than plead guilty to the crime.
Despite Thomas Murphy apologizing for his “role” in the death of 12-year-old Andrew McMorris, the 60-year-old decided not to plead guilty to charges of vehicular homicide, manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter, assault, vehicular assault, driving while intoxicated, reckless driving and reckless endangerment.
“I have been without him for 215 days, more than seven months. He’s missed Thanksgiving, he’s missed Christmas, he missed his birthday,” said McMorris’ heartbroken mother after learning the news that Murphy would be going to trial.
Authorities say Murphy was drunk when he slammed his Mercedes-Benz into a group of Boy Scouts on their way to a hike in Manorville on Sept. 30.
Prosecutors say Murphy had a blood alcohol level of more than 0.18 at the time of the crash.
In a statement previously released by Murphy’s lawyer, the 60-year-old said, “I take responsibility for my role in the tragic accident that resulted in the death of a wonderful boy.”
During previous court appearances, Murphy has said he intends to take responsibility for his actions and not prolong the McMorris family's suffering.
On Thursday, Murphy said nothing as he walked out of the courthouse.
Prosecutors said Murphy was offered the maximum sentence if he pleaded guilty, which would have been 8 to 21 years in prison.
“When all this is over, I still don’t get my baby back and he gets to go home. Even after he serves his time, he gets to go home to his family and my baby doesn’t,” McMorris’ mother said.
Pretrial hearings are set to begin on June 4.