On the two-year anniversary of that fateful day, Acting Supreme Court Justice Fernando Camacho gave Thomas Murphy, 61 of Holbrook, the max sentence of eight and a third to 25 years Sept. 30 for hitting and killing a Wading River Boy Scout while driving drunk.
The sentencing caps off month upon month of a tense courtroom back and forth, following with a sentencing that was first delayed due to the pandemic and then held back again after a lawyer for the defendant claimed there had been jury misconduct.
Andrew McMorris, of Wading River, was killed Sept. 30, 2018 after Murphy hit both him and several other young scouts of Shoreham Troop 161 while they were hiking along the road in Manorville, Suffolk County Police said. McMorris was only 12 years old.
Several other scouts suffered severe injuries that day as well. Thomas Lane, of Shoreham, suffered severe injuries while his brother, Denis Lane, and Kaden Lynch, of Calverton, both suffered injuries as well.
“Today, justice was served,” Suffolk County District Attorney Tim Sini (D) said. “This was a difficult process, but today, justice was served. I want to thank the prosecutors in my Office who were so committed to achieving justice in this case as well as the Suffolk County Police Department for their partnership in this investigation and prosecution. Most of all, I want to thank the victims’ loved ones and the community for their support throughout this process.”
Murphy was convicted by a jury Dec. 18, 2019 of aggravated vehicular homicide, manslaughter and several other counts including assault and reckless driving.
Police have said that two years ago, shortly before 2 p.m., Murphy was leaving Swan Lake Golf Club to drive home after drinking alcohol since around 9 a.m. The DA said an investigation revealed that Murphy was approached by a friend in the parking lot who offered to drive Murphy home due to his intoxicated state, but he refused.
Murphy was driving southbound on David Terry Road when his white Mercedes SUV veered toward a group of 12 Boys Scouts and six Scout leaders from Troop 161 who were walking northbound on the shoulder of the roadway.
Police from the 7th precinct told prosecutors that Murphy allegedly had slurred speech and the scent of alcohol on his breath. Murphy refused a field sobriety test as well as a later blood test at the precinct.
Detectives would shortly after receive a warrant for a blood test from Murphy who prosecutors said revealed had a blood alcohol content level of .13% approximately four hours after the crash occurred.
Since Andrew’s death, the McMorris family have become active with Mothers Against Drunk Driving and their foundation, named after their son, has also benefited high school students in Shoreham-Wading River with scholarships.
“[The McMorris family] managed to turn their grief and their loss into something positive, becoming advocates in the community for safe driving and trying to prevent a tragedy like this from ever happening again,” Sini said.