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Two weeks and nearly 600 residents later, jury chosen in Murphy case

A jury has been selected for the trial of Thomas Murphy, the Holbrook man accused of killing a Wading River boy in an alleged drunken driving crash in Manorville last year.

More than two weeks after the start of jury selection, a process that saw nearly 600 potential jurors called, 12 county residents and three alternates have been impaneled for the start of testimony next month.

“We have a jury,” Acting Suffolk County Supreme Court Justice Fernando Camacho said Friday as he handed the card of juror No. 12 to his clerk.

Both sides will still return to the Riverside courthouse Nov. 6 for three additional days of jury selection as Judge Camacho said he hopes to add up to three more alternate jurors. Opening statements should begin Nov. 12 and the trial is expected to last three to five weeks, the judge said.

Mr. Murphy, 60, was allegedly driving his Mercedes-Benz SUV drunk on David Terry Road in Manorville Sept. 30, 2018, when he struck and killed 12-year-old Andrew McMorris of Wading River, who was hiking with fellow Boy Scouts. Prosecutors have said four others were injured during the crash. He is facing a top charge of aggravated vehicular homicide, which carries a maximum sentence of 8 1/3 to 25 years in prison.

A warrant issued to obtain Mr. Murphy’s blood showed a blood alcohol content of .13% more than three hours after the crash, prosecutors have said.

Defense Attorney Steven Politi, who replaced Mr. Murphy’s original attorney this summer, has argued that police lacked probable cause to arrest his client. He also sought a special prosecutor and filed a motion in appellate court to have Mr. Camacho removed from the case.

The most pressing issue in recent weeks, has been the prospect of finalizing a jury. Over the first five days, more than 360 prospective jurors were dismissed, most of whom said they could not be fair or impartial in the highly publicized case.

In total, 125 prospective jurors were invited back this week, with 15 of them ultimately being selected to move on for the start of trial. Both sides have expressed a desire to add more alternate jurors due to the increased risk of losing jurors in a high profile case that could last more than a month.

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