Driver charged in fatal Long Island Boy Scout crash

MELVILLE, N.Y. — The man accused of killing a 12-year-old Boy Scout while driving drunk issued a statement Thursday outside a Central Islip courthouse taking responsibility for his “role” on Sept. 30 when his Mercedes-Benz plowed into a group of Scouts walking on a Manorville roadside.

However, the statement from Thomas Murphy, 59, of Holbrook, did not specify what his role was. His attorney cautioned that the statement should not be interpreted that Murphy would plead guilty to his current charge of driving while intoxicated or any upgraded charges expected in a coming indictment.

Murphy is accused of being intoxicated when his car veered off David Terry Road and hit the group. Andrew McMorris, 12, of Wading River, died the next day from his injuries.

Murphy’s statement, which was read by his attorney, Stephen G. McCarthy Jr. of Manhattan, said: “I, Thomas Murphy, want to offer my deepest sympathy and condolences to the family and loved ones of Andrew McMorris. I take responsibility for my role in the tragic accident that occurred on September 30, 2018, which resulted in the death of a wonderful boy, and the injury of four other boys. I also want to offer my sympathy to the families of the other injured boys, Thomas Lane, Denis Lane, Kaden Lynch and Matthew Yakaboski.”

It continued: “I will cooperate fully with the Suffolk County district attorney’s office during their investigation of this tragic accident. Again, I am deeply sorry. Myself, and my family, offer our prayers to the McMorris family in this extraordinarily painful and difficult time.”

McCarthy said his client was too upset to read the statement himself, and made it public “because he’s astoundingly sad and remorseful.”

The case was adjourned after a brief appearance. Court records show Murphy’s next appearance is scheduled for Nov. 7.

— Newsday

Jury finds South Carolina man guilty in car rage mayhem at cemetery

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A Richland County jury has delivered multiple guilty verdicts in the bizarre case of James Kester, who sped his car through a Columbia cemetery last year, striking 11 people at a funeral.

The jury deliberated more than six hours before reaching its verdicts Wednesday night.

Kester, 66, was found guilty of a half-dozen counts of assault and battery with serious bodily harm. However, the jury acquitted Kester on several other counts, according to one of his court-appointed lawyers, Bill Nettles.

An official tally of the guilty charges was not possible Thursday because the Richland County Courthouse was closed due to Hurricane Michael.

Prosecutors Vance Eaton and Sam McGlothin had sought guilty verdicts on more serious charges — of attempted murder.

With Michael bearing down on Columbia, Circuit Court Judge Clifton Newman delayed Kester’s sentencing until Friday.

The victims and their families expressed relief the guilt-or-innocence phase of the trial was over. Some said they are looking forward to speaking Friday at Kester’s sentencing hearing.

“I want to say something,” said former University of South Carolina School of Law dean John Montgomery, one of the survivors who testified at this week’s trial.

Montgomery suffered a gash in his leg and other injuries in the bizarre July 19, 2017, incident.

On that day, Kester, who acknowledged he was obsessed with seeking vengeance against the South Carolina Department of Mental Health for his daughter’s alleged mistreatment years ago, drove his Cadillac into the graveside service of longtime Mental Health worker Margaret “Peggy” Livingstone.

Kester did not know Livingstone, and she had nothing to do with the state agency’s treatment of Kester’s daughter. But Kester saw Livingstone’s obituary in the newspaper, noted it said she had worked for Mental Health and decided to strike, prosecutors said.

When Kester arrived at the cemetery, he saw mourners at Livingstone’s graveside and sped his Cadillac toward them, striking a dozen people — ranging from an 11-year-old girl to senior citizens in their late 70s — and sending them flying.

— The State (Columbia, S.C.)

House GOP subpoenas Glenn Simpson, founder of Trump dossier firm Fusion GPS

WASHINGTON — House Republicans have subpoenaed the founder of the firm that commissioned a dossier alleging ties between Russia and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, demanding that Glenn Simpson show up Tuesday for a closed-door deposition at the Capitol.

“Mr. Simpson’s attorney has already indicated his client will exercise his privilege not to answer questions at the deposition,” according to a notice circulated Thursday among lawmakers. “It is unclear if Republicans will force Mr. Simpson to assert that privilege in person or not.”

Simpson is the founder of Fusion GPS, which hired former British spy Christopher Steele to produce a dossier with unverified allegations, some of them salacious, of ties between Trump and Russians before he became president. President Donald Trump and Republicans say the dossier, funded largely by Democrats and Hillary Clinton’s campaign, is bogus and provided a pretext to begin the Russia inquiry that’s now run by special counsel Robert Mueller.

If he shows up, Simpson would be questioned by some Republican and Democratic members and staff of the House Judiciary Committee, as well as the Oversight and Government Reform panel, which have been conducting a joint examination of investigative decisions made during the 2016 campaign by the FBI and the Justice Department.

Simpson previously met with the House Intelligence and Senate Judiciary committees, and transcripts of those sessions were released.

— Bloomberg News

Reward to find killers of endangered California condors has tripled

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — A wildlife group has tripled the reward to help convict the killer or killers of two endangered California condors found shot dead in the last three months.

As a result of the two shootings, the Center for Biological Diversity is offering a $15,000 reward for anyone providing information that leads to an arrest and conviction for the two shootings.

Federal law enforcement officials are hunting for whoever is responsible.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced in September that a condor was found shot dead in Tulare County in May, according to a statement from the Center for Biological Diversity.

A second condor was found fatally shot in Kern County in July. The agency had originally offered a $5,000 reward.

The California condor is protected by both state and federal law, and there are only a few hundred of the birds in the wild.

— The Tribune (San Luis Obispo, Calif.)