Boy Scout killed: Juror misconduct claims, new witnesses delay sentencing

WABC logo
Wednesday, August 26, 2020
Boy scout killed: Juror misconduct delays sentencing
EMBED <>More Videos

NJ Burkett reports sentencing was delayed Wednesday for a Long Island man convicted of killing a Boy Scout while driving drunk.

RIVERHEAD, Long Island (WABC) -- Sentencing was delayed Wednesday for the Long Island man convicted of killing a Boy Scout while driving drunk, leaving the victim's family outraged.

The judge announced that Thomas Murphy's sentencing was postponed in favor of a hearing into allegations of juror misconduct raised by the defense, as well as two new witnesses who have apparently come forward.

That hearing to take place for three days beginning on September 16.

Murphy drove his car into a group of Boy Scouts as they hiked in September of 2018, killing 12-year-old Andrew McMorris. He was convicted of aggravated vehicular homicide and manslaughter in December, with jurors deliberating or a little over a day.

McMorris' family and friends had prepared impact statements they never got the chance to read, while the new developments could set the stage for a new trial.

"It's been 700 days since Andrew passed, and we still can't get justice," dad John McMorris said while holding back tears. "This is cruel and unusual and despicable what they're dong to us."

Related: Family of Long Island Boy Scout killed by alleged drunk driver speaks out

Defense attorney Steven Politi said four jurors were making claims of misconduct.

"The four jurors who signed statements indicated that not only did they discuss the case, but that none of them went and told the court that it was being discussed," he said. "There's allegations that they read the newspaper accounts, which they were forbidden to do, and various other things."

The two new witnesses were said to be motorists at the scene who saw the Boy Scouts walking in the road, which was a claim the defense argued during trial.

After the hearing, the judge could decide to throw out the conviction and order a new trial, or uphold the ruling and move ahead to sentencing.

Prosecutors said in closing arguments that Murphy "recklessly and selfishly" got behind the wheel of his SUV after pounding vodka on a golf course and plowed into the group.

Murphy, who declined a plea agreement and forced what the family called a painful and unnecessary trial, faces 8 1/3 to 25 years in prison if the verdict is upheld.

"This was a completely unnecessary process for us to have to go through, a million times worse," mom Alisa McMorris said after the verdict.

Murphy's defense unsuccessfully attempted to argue that the Boy Scouts weren't supervised properly that day and were not walking on the side of the road when Murphy swerved into them.

Related: Hundreds hike in memory of Suffolk County Boy Scout killed by alleged drunk driver

Thomas refused a breathalyzer test, and blood tests four hours later showed his BAC to be .13.


* More Long Island news

* Send us a news tip

* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts

* Follow us on YouTube

Submit a News Tip