Edward M. Orr, who pleaded guilty last month to the Oct. 25, 2012, hit-and-run killing of an Amagansett man, John Judge, was sentenced yesterday in a near-empty courtroom to serve two to six years in state prison.
Suffolk County Supreme Court Justice William J. Condon sentenced Mr. Orr on three felony counts: leaving the scene of a fatal accident, tampering with evidence, and violating the terms of a 2009 conviction for embezzling money from a Montauk fuel company. He received two to six years on the first charge, one to three years on the second, and a one-year sentence on the third, all three to run concurrently. His attorney, Gordon Ryan, said he would probably serve about four years.
Mr. Orr, who had been in a drug treatment program at Phoenix House in Wainscott since February 2012 after violating his probation, was returning from there to Montauk on the night he hit Mr. Judge on Amagansett Main Street. “You were on your way back,” Justice Condon told him before passing sentence. “You made a tragic decision to leave the scene. If you had called the police right then, maybe Mr. Judge would still be alive. Sometimes we have to pay for the mistakes we make. Today is that day.”
No members of the victim’s family were in the courtroom.
Mr. Ryan arrived early and immediately went in to Justice Condon’s chambers with Ian Fitzgerald, an assistant district attorney who works out of the vehicular bureau of the Suffolk District Attorney’s Office. After he emerged, he went to the back of the courtroom and whispered to Mr. Orr’s parents and an uncle, “It’s still two to six.”
The defense lawyer had said on Monday that he would ask the court to assign extra guards for Mr. Orr’s sentencing, as he was concerned about a possible demonstration. Five guards were on hand, but Mr. Ryan’s fear proved unfounded. Besides Mr. Orr’s relatives, only Alison Lupo, a close friend of Mr. Judge, and Ms. Lupo’s friend Lea Jarvis, were there.
Mr. Fitzgerald asked Ms. Lupo just before the proceedings began if she wanted to speak on Mr. Judge’s behalf. Overwrought, she declined. She said afterward that she was unprepared for the question and wished she’d known in advance that she would be asked to speak.
No one spoke on Mr. Orr’s behalf.
Ms. Lupo, who owns and runs Astro Pizza and Felice’s restaurant in Amagansett with her husband, Tony Lupo, was one of the last people to see Mr. Judge alive, when he picked up his nightly meal there. He was run down as he crossed Main Street. He was cremated, and she has his ashes. A service in his memory will be held in the near future, she said.
Mr. Lupo has been too distraught and angry to attend any of the court proceedings.
Before sentencing, Mr. Ryan produced a letter from Ann Marie Jazylo, Mr. Orr’s drug counselor, in which she stated that Mr. Orr was sober just minutes before the accident. Urine tests taken five days before it happened showed no sign of drugs in his system, Mr. Ryan told the court.
After guards took Mr. Orr away and the courtroom emptied, Mr. Ryan said Mr. Orr had confessed to him two days after the accident, but that as his attorney, he could not divulge what he knew. Mr. Ryan said he repeatedly urged Mr. Orr to turn himself in, but it was only when East Hampton Town police began closing in on him that he did so.
“My wife was glued to the news,” Mr. Ryan said, speaking of the burden he carried upon learning the truth. “Nobody knew but me.”
After he confessed, Mr. Orr asked Mr. Ryan to continue to represent him. “I told him I wouldn’t take the case if he went to trial,” said the lawyer. Mr. Orr said, “To the friends and family of Mr. Judge, I didn’t cause the accident, but I am so sorry for what I’ve done,” said the prisoner.
As her friend consoled her, Ms. Lupo wept.