Holbrook man gets maximum sentence in crash that killed Boy Scout

Thomas Murphy, the Holbrook man convicted of driving drunk and fatally hitting a Boy Scout, received the maximum sentence of 8 1/3 to 25 years in prison.

News 12 Staff

Oct 1, 2020, 2:25 AM

Updated 1,355 days ago

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Thomas Murphy, the Holbrook man convicted of driving drunk and fatally hitting a Boy Scout, received the maximum sentence of 8 1/3 to 25 years in prison.
Murphy, 61, was found guilty in December of fatally hitting 12-year-old Andrew McMorris while he was hiking with his Boy Scout troop. Wednesday's sentencing comes exactly two years after the crash.
The sentencing comes hours after a judge upheld the guilty verdict in the case, as Murphy's lawyer tried to get a new trial, claiming jurors discussed the case outside of deliberations.
Two counts were dismissed in the case because they were repetitive, but that had no bearing in sentencing.
The judge said before handing down the sentence that families were broken because of Murphy's actions, and that the sentencing needed to reflect the damage he caused.
"From the outset of this case, it's been clear that the judge was biased against Mr. Murphy from minute one, and that's continued straight through until today," says defense attorney Steven Politi. "I spoke to my client after the judge rendered another erroneous decision -- a biased decision and we expected him to do that."
The McMorris family was in court on Tuesday as the final juror gave testimony. Andrew's parents were also part of hours of heart-wrenching victim impact statements.
"We have two broken families here.  We have a life sentence, we have to learn how to live with, but we're going to carry on and honor our son by doing good work for him in his memory," says John McMorris, Andrew's father.
"I've chosen not to speak until now because I thought after Thomas Murphy was sentenced I could somehow find the words to accurately describe the pain and loss my family and my community has gone through. But I still find myself speechless because there are no winners today," says Arianna McMorris, Andrew's sister.
Three other scouts were injured, including Denis Lane, who told the judge, "Mr. Murphy has stolen from me dignity, sanity and innocence, like he stole Andrew's life."
Immediately after the sentencing, Murphy's wife yelled out in court "Tom, you hang in Tom." Moments later she collapsed onto the floor in the hallway.
McMorris' mother says the sentencing took two years too long, but that tonight they would "celebrate their son."
Politi said after the sentencing that he will be filing an appeal.
"The families of Suffolk County can rest easier tonight because their children are safer since Thomas Murphy is in jail," says Chris McGrath, attorney for the McMorris Family.
"There is no celebration tonight for a heartbroken McMorris family – nothing will bring Andrew back. We will continue to fight for justice in the civil case, where he will again have to answer for his negligent and reckless decisions made two years ago today." says Deanne Caputo, attorney for the McMorris Family.


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