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Driver Charged In Boy Scout's Death Comes Face-To-Face With Victim's Family

MANORVILLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A Long Island man accused of driving drunk and killing a Boy Scout returned to court Tuesday, where he came face-to-face with the victim's family and fellow scouts.

Thomas Murphy, 59, now faces upgraded charges in the death of 12-year-old Andrew McMorris.

Police said Murphy was behind the wheel of a white SUV that struck five Boy Scouts walking along the shoulder of tree-lined David Terry Road in Manorville. The boys range in age from 12 to 16 years old and were accompanied by adult chaperones.

Murphy stayed at the scene as the victims were taken to the hospital, police said. McMorris, 12, of Wading River, later died of his injuries.

Police said 15-year-old Thomas Lane, of Shoreham, was seriously hurt, while 16-year-old Denis Lane, of Shoreham, 15-year-old Kaden Lynch, of Calverton, and 15-year-old Matthew Yakaboski suffered non-life-threatening injuries. 

Murphy apologized Tuesday but pleaded not guilty to new charges of aggravated vehicular homicide, vehicular assault and aggravated driving while intoxicated. The aggravated DWI charge indicates his blood alcohol content was more than .18.

McMorris's mother held her son's picture in her hands and his father wore a Boy Scout's uniform in his honor, too emotional to speak.

"Nothing will bring Andrew back. But we will obtain justice," Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini said.

Murphy's attorney said his client was also too sad and remorseful to read his statement.

"A beautiful, wonderful child lost his life. I can never make that right. To the parents and family of Andrew McMorris, I want to express my deepest sorrow, sympathy and prayers," defense attorney Stephen McCarthy Jr. said on his behalf.

Murphy admitted on the scene to consuming three drinks at the Swan Lake Golf Club before the crash. The district attorney said he refused an offer by a colleague to drive him home – a decision he will live with for the rest of his life.

"I am a parent. I know that nothing can fill the void left by the death of your beloved son. I am so very sorry," Murphy's statement continued. "It's my ultimate intention to accept responsibility for my role in this tragic accident."

If convicted, he faces up to 25 years in prison.

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