NEW YORK (FOX5NY.COM) - The alleged drunk driver who killed Andrew McMorris while he was hiking with his Boy Scout troop last month appeared in court Tuesday.
The scouting community packed the courtroom on Tuesday in a moving show of support for the McMorris family as the defendant, Thomas Murphy, faced a judge.
"This defendant will be held accountable for his actions," Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini said. "Nothing will bring Andrew back. But we will obtain justice in this case."
Looking visibly upset, Murphy pleaded not guilty to upgraded charges including aggravated vehicular homicide.
Prosecutors told the judge that Murphy had been drinking vodka at a golf club on the day of the crash and refused a ride from a sober person before he plowed into the group of Boy Scouts. Investigators said Murphy was so unsteady on his feet that he couldn't safely take a field sobriety test.
Toxicologists estimate his blood-alcohol content to be 0.19 at the time of the crash.
Murphy's attorney, Stephen McCarthy Jr., read a statement on behalf of his client expressing remorse.
"'It's my ultimate intention to accept responsibility for my role in this tragic accident so that perhaps the healing of the victims, especially the McMorris family, will not be delayed by my court proceeding,'" McCarthy said.
The top count against Murphy carries a maximum of 25 years behind bars.
The judge suspended Murphy's license. He remains free on $500,000 bond and is due back in court next month.