RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- A man convicted in a drunk-driving crash that killed a Boy Scout on Long Island was sentenced to prison on Wednesday.
More than 100 supporters, wearing red in solidarity with the McMorris family, gathered in Suffolk County Supreme Court.
The pain was so raw and the irony was overwhelming. It was two years ago Wednesday the 12-year-old Boy Scout was run down and killed while hiking with his troop in Manorville.
And now, his family finally has justice.
"We have a life sentence we have to learn to live with, but we're going to carry on in honoring our son," father John McMorris said. "Hopefully we can make some change with the drunk-driving laws."
What transpired prior to Wednesday marked a stunning turn of events. Would a judge throw out the verdict and start all over after a hearing on alleged jury misconduct? Or was it a stall tactic, a fishing expedition by the defense? The defense suddenly claimed on sentencing day last month that some jurors read accounts and discussed the case before deliberations.
All 12 jurors and the six alternates were subpoenaed. The judge ruled their isolated comments and remarks did not influence or prejudice their deliberations, adding they were forthright and honest.
You could hear a pin drop when the judge ruled Murphy would finally go to prison.
He had been out on bail since the day he drove into Scout Troop 161, after boozing on vodka for hours at a golf course. He drove off despite protests of friends, plowed into the boys, and refused to take a Breathalyzer test.
It has been a nightmare for parents Alisa and John McMorris.
"We can begin to heal. We haven't healed in two years," John McMorris said. "How could we heal through all of this nightmare?"
"Remember, if you drive, never drink," Alisa McMorris added.
A bright light in his Wading River community, Andrew McMorris' intellect, sprit, humor, talent and dreams were highlighted in victim impact statements by friends, relatives and Scouts. It was so emotional multiple breaks had to be called before his mom and dad described the final moments of their only son's life. As his body grew cold and the doctors could not save him, Andrew's body was washed by his parents in preparation for the morgue. They said they then placed the child into a tiny body bag.
His injuries were so severe his organs could not be donated.
As Murphy was handcuffed and taken away his wife asked to hug him, crying out "Tom, Tom ... hang in there," before she fainted in the hallway.
The judge said he prays the broken McMorris family can begin to heal.
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