Murphy Trial

Judge sets March 17 sentencing date for Thomas Murphy

A sentencing date has been set for Thomas Murphy, the Holbrook man who was found guilty last month on nine counts related to a 2018 drunk driving crash that killed 12-year-old Boy Scout Andrew McMorris and injured three others.

Suffolk County Judge Fernando Camacho set the sentencing date for March 17 during a brief hearing in Central Islip Tuesday.

Judge Camacho also denied a trial order of dismissal motion filed by defense attorney Steven Politi, who claimed after the hearing that evidence presented during the six-week trial in Riverside was not “legally sufficient” to go to the jury.

“The judge found that it was, so the jury verdict will stand,” Mr. Politi said.

In a rare show of emotion, Mr. Murphy embraced his defense attorney before leaving the packed courtroom with his family.

Mr. Politi said that his client was “not well,” following his Dec. 18, 2019, conviction and vowed to appeal the case.

“[The sentence] has to involve prison, unfortunately,” he said. “We do believe we have a lot of valid, viable, strong issues for appeal.”

He indicated that he may seek to have his client, who remains free on $500,000 bond, kept out of prison pending an appeal.

“We’re going to obviously seek that he not begin to do a sentence that we feel ultimately he will not serve,” Mr. Politi said.

Mr. Murphy was found guilty on two counts of aggravated vehicular homicide, second-degree manslaughter, second-degree assault, two counts of second-degree vehicular assault and two counts of third-degree assault and reckless driving. He is facing a maximum sentence of 8 1/3 to 25 years in prison, with a minimum of between one and four years.

For the McMorris family, again flanked with supporters wearing red in solidarity, the March sentencing date represents “another delay” in the case. “It’s just getting harder,” Andrew’s mother, Alisa, told reporters following the hearing.

Her husband, John, added: “The criminal case continues to delay our healing and delay our grieving.”

Ms. McMorris said their community continues to write victim impact statements for Judge Camacho’s consideration. “How do you possibly describe what this loss means and how it affects you?” she said, referring to her son’s death as a “ripple effect of a tsunami” that has affected their entire community.

She said her family plans to speak at the sentencing and they are already contemplating how to put their thoughts from the past 14 months into words.

“Andrew will not be forgotten,” she said.