Wantagh man pleads not guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide charges
A Wantagh man accused of killing a man while driving drunk was arraigned Tuesday in Mineola.
Willem Specht allegedly rapidly backed his car into Joe DeVito outside the On Parade Diner in Woodbury in January. Prosecutors say Specht's blood alcohol level was nearly three times the legal limit.
Specht pleaded not guilty to charges including the class B felony of aggravated vehicular homicide, which has a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison.
The judge also agreed not to raise Specht's bail despite the district attorney's office saying the suspect pleaded guilty twice before to alcohol-related vehicle crimes.
Specht did offer his condolences to DeVito's family, who showed up wearing pins of the victim's face in court.
DeVito's family told News 12 off-camera that they want justice for their loved one and other victims of drunk driving.
Defense attorney Stephen LaMagna says his Specht has entered intensive alcohol treatment and has been attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings twice a week.
"This is a tragedy of immeasurable proportions," LaMagna says. "My client is a deeply religious man, he prays every day for the victim of this horrible situation."
Defense attorneys say they had no objections to Specht's license being suspended.
Specht is due back in court on Sept. 7.