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Testy Day At Thomas Murphy Hearing As Judge Hits Defense Attorney With $1,000 Fine For Contempt

RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Emotions ran high in a Suffolk County courtroom.

A hearing began Wednesday for the man found guilty last December in the drunk-driving crash that killed a Boy Scout.

Thomas Murphy's sentencing was postponed in August, amid jury misconduct allegations and potential new evidence. On Wednesday, former jurors started to testify, CBS2's Jennifer McLogan reported.

Andrew McMorris
Sentencing was abruptly postponed Wednesday for a man convicted of driving drunk and killing a 12-year-old Boy Scout on Long Island. (CBS2)

Histrionics played out in a fourth-floor courtroom during the testy hearing for Murphy, the man found guilty of driving drunk and crashing into a group of Scouts hiking in Manorville two years ago, killing 12-year-old Andrew McMorris.

Following a string of outbursts, Murphy's defense attorney was charged with contempt of court. After throwing a pen and shouting at the judge, Steven Politi was fined $1,000 for "insolent behavior."

"I feel awful for the victim's parents. I feel awful for the little boy, but that doesn't affect my job. I have a job to do. It's to represent Mr. Murphy and make sure he gets a fair trial," Politi said.

Murphy's sentencing is on hold as he is angling for a retrial. In a stunning turn of events, the defense claims two jurors and two alternates discussed the case prior to deliberations, read news articles, and overheard private conversations.

All 12 jurors and six alternates were subpoenaed to testify at this hearing. Prosecutors have called it a fishing expedition and the McMorris family has been unable to find closure.

"What we're being put through right now is horrific. This is just horrific. It's a terrible display of what should have ended years ago," Alisa McMorris said. "Years. We are in years now. It was two years ago. This is just a shame."

The McMorris family said they are suffering through a cruel delay tactic. Murphy was to already be serving a maximum of 25 years in prison.

As for alleged new evidence that the Scouts were at fault, meandering in the roadway, the judge threw that out.

The hearing will continue.

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