LONG ISLAND - Thomas Murphy was found guilty last December in the DWI death of 12-year-old Boy Scout Andrew McMorris, but the already painful case is being dragged into overtime as day one of an unusual hearing on juror misconduct gets underway.
Prosecutors say that McMorris was hiking with his troop in Manorville in 2018 when Murphy, who had spent hours drinking vodka before getting behind the wheel of his car, crashed into the group, killing McMorris. His sentencing, originally scheduled for the end of August, was postponed in favor of the hearing.
“What we’re being put through right now is horrific...this is just horrific,” said Andrew’s mom Alisa. “It’s a terrible display of what should’ve ended years ago. Years!”
The victim's family, who has been seeking justice for nearly two years, called the delay cruel. But Steven Politi, Murphy’s attorney, who was held in contempt of court and fined $1,000 for a confrontation with the judge, claims his client was deprived of a fair trial.
Politi says two jurors and two alternates signed statements indicating they discussed the case and none of them told the judge.
“I feel awful for the victim's parents,” Politi said. “I feel awful for the little boy but that doesn’t affect my job. I have a job to do. It’s to represent Mr. Murphy and make sure he gets a fair trial.”
One juror who took an oath and went before the judge admitted that jurors were discussing the case but contrary to what was originally written on her affidavit, stopped short of saying it compromised the trial.
“A science juror said that the expert witness was wrong in the middle of his testimony against the admonition that you can’t speak about the testimony during the trial which was read conservatively 300 times,” Politi said.
The judge has the hearing on the calendar for the rest of the week. It is unclear how long it will go on for and when a decision will be made.
Murphy faces up to 25 years in prison.