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Driver charged in DWI crash that killed Boy Scout back in court

The parents of Andrew McMorris and members of Shoreham Boy Scout Troop 161 filled a Central Islip courtroom Tuesday morning as Thomas Murphy, the Holbrook man accused of a deadly drunk driving crash two months ago, appeared before Suffolk County Supreme Court Justice Fernando Camacho.

The case was adjourned until Jan. 24.

Mr. Murphy was responsible for the death of the 12-year-old Scout and injuring four others while allegedly driving drunk on David Terry Road in Manorville two months ago, according to a criminal indictment.

Mr. Murphy had been arraigned on a 16-count indictment, including aggravated vehicular homicide, which carries a maximum penalty of 8 and 1/3 to 25 years in prison. Other charges include second-degree vehicular manslaughter, aggravated DWI and second-degree assault, among others.

Following the brief conference between the defense attorney and prosecutor, the McMorris family, friends, and other Scouts in uniform, reunited in the lobby and immediately left.

Mr. Murphy, 59, followed, and his attorney, Stephen McCarthy Jr., read a statement on his behalf. Similar to the statement read after Mr. Murphy’s arraignment Oct. 16, he apologized for the incident.

“A beloved, beautiful child has been taken from his family as we enter the holiday season. I take responsibility for my role in this tragedy,” the statement said. “The pain of the McMorris family must be unimaginable and unbearable.”

Following the statement, Mr. McCarthy said there’s an “ongoing dialogue” between the defense and the prosecutor’s office to address the case.

“We’re being fairly treated by the board and the prosecutor’s office,” he said.

Mr. Murphy will remain free on the initial $500,000 bond he posted after his Oct. 1 arraignment on the initial misdemeanor DWI charge. It is unclear if the case will proceed to a trial.

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Photo caption: Thomas Murphy of Holbrook pleaded not guilty to a 16-count indictment. (Cyndi Zaweski file photo)