Martin H., the man from Nassau County who killed 7-year-old Katie Flynn, is being debated by the state Court of Appeals. Heidgen was also convicted of killing 59-year-old Stanley Rabinowitz, a limo driver, while driving the wrong way on the Meadowbrook Parkway. The earlier conviction took place in 2005.
The accident which killed the little girl occurred when Heidgen was driving while extremely intoxicated and plowed his car into a limousine in which the flower girl was sitting. According to the reports, he was too drunk to be even aware of the fact that he was a great threat to others around him, creating a serious risk of death for others.
His case was presented by his appellate lawyer before the state Court of Appeals Tuesday. Seven judges listened to his case along with two more cases. The lawyers from all three cases debated over the question of whether defendants who were extremely intoxicated and lead to accidents causing death of an innocent person knew the risks of their actions but still disregarded them. Such individuals should have been charged with murder.
Apart from Heidgen, another resident from Nassau County, Franklin McPherson, was also a defendant, who had been convicted of killing Leslie Burgess while driving the wrong way on the Southern State Parkway. This incident took place in October 2007. The third case was for a defendant from Staten Island who had a similar case.
Whatever decision the court takes in these three cases will affect the pending cases as well. It is expected that the court will announce its decision next month. Two cases from Suffolk County are also pending. The defendants in these cases are Michael Grasing and Thomas Herman. Grasing is facing a murder charge for killing Brittany Walsh while he was driving with a blood-alcohol content of .30 percent whereas Herman is accused of killing Sam Longo while high on oxycodone, morphine, Xanax and PCP. He is also facing the same murder charge. Laura Newcombe is the prosecutor for both the cases.
Several judges are of the opinion that mere drunkenness and a horrific outcome are not enough to justify a murder charge and the law should require more. The judges argued whether Heidgen and others were so drunk that they couldn’t form the necessary state of mind. According to Judge Robert Smith, one has to show that they really didn’t care enough, being aware of and yet disregarding the grave risk of death they were causing others. However, Nassau Assistant District Attorney Maureen McCormick says that the evidence in both the cases shows exactly that.
Attorney Brian Sloan have spent entire career focused on DUI & Vehicular Related offenses, having represented over 1,500 DUI clients in the past 8+ years.
Since this story was first published Martin has been sentenced to murder in the first degree. For more on this story, click here.
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