Trial date set for man accused of killing Boy Scout while drunk

Posted: Updated:
CENTRAL ISLIP -

A trial date has been set for Thomas Murphy, the Holbrook man accused of driving drunk and running over a Boy Scout troop in Manorville last year, killing 12-year-old Andrew McMorris.

Murphy was in Central Islip court Tuesday morning for a pretrial hearing to determine if statements he said to police before he was arrested could be used against him. Officers testified Tuesday that Murphy told them he had been drinking and had asked after the accident if the Scouts were OK.

Police also said in court that Murphy said he had driven that road a million times and never expected anyone to be there. Police said that Murphy smelled of alcohol, had slurred speech and was unsteady on his feet. The judge ruled that the information would be allowed at trial. It was still little comfort to McMorris' parents. The victim's father says the crash was "100% avoidable."

The judge also allowed the prosecution to use evidence that Murphy refused to voluntarily submit to blood tests multiple times to determine his blood alcohol level.

Murphy is charged with drunk driving and aggravated vehicular homicide.

The judge has set Sept. 18 as the first day for jury selection. The trial will begin immediately after that. McMorris' family says they're not looking forward to it, but they'll be ready.

Neither the prosecution nor Murphy's attorney would comment after Tuesday's hearing.

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