Edward L. Orr, 31, of Montauk was sentenced in Suffolk County Criminal Court on April 24 to two to six years in prison in connection with the hit-and-run death of John Judge, 61, in Amagansett on October 23.
In the Riverside courtroom, Mr. Orr apologized both to his parents and to those who were close to Mr. Judge, who was struck as he crossed Main Street after visiting his friend Tony Lupo at Astro Pizza.
“Mr. Judge was lucky to have friends and family like you,” Mr. Orr said after turning to face Alison Lupo, Mr. Lupo’s wife, and Lea Jarvis, Ms. Lupo’s and Mr. Judge’s friend, according to his attorney, Gordon Ryan.
Mr. Orr turned to the judge “and said, ‘Thank you, your honor; I’m ready for my sentencing,'” Mr. Ryan said.
Judge William Condon sentenced Mr. Orr to two to six years for leaving the scene of an accident without reporting it, a felony; one and a half to three years for tampering with evidence, also a felony; and one year for violating probation. The sentences will run concurrently and Mr. Orr will be credited for time served since February 7, when he was arrested by East Hampton Town Police after an investigation of over three months that ended when his Jeep Cherokee was recovered in New Jersey.
Mr. Orr told police he thought he had hit a deer and stopped and looked, but could not see anything. Mr. Judge was found on the road by East Hampton Town Councilman Dominick Stanzione and pronounced dead at Southampton Hospital. Mr. Orr pleaded guilty to the felony counts on March 20.
Mr. Ryan said his client would be sent to a correctional facility in Fishkill, New York, within the next two weeks and then most likely serve his sentence in a medium-security prison upstate.
According to Mr. Ryan, Mr. Orr’s counselor at Phoenix House swore in a statement that there had been no apparent impairment when he met with her in East Hampton at approximately 7:30 p.m. before the accident, which was reported at 7:52 p.m.
A former teacher of Mr. Orr’s at East Hampton High School wrote an unsolicited letter recalling that he was smart and inquisitive beyond his years in 1996. “The man who stands before you for sentencing must still hold those qualities,” the letter reportedly said.
According to Mr. Ryan, Mr. Orr called him two days after the accident, which he attempted to cover up by running his Jeep into a sign near the Montauk Lighthouse, and they spoke about half a dozen times in the following two weeks.
“I offered every time we spoke to bring him in right now,” Mr. Ryan said. “I told him, ‘You’re playing double or nothing.'”
Under the law, Mr. Ryan said, as Mr. Orr’s attorney he could not have turned him in.
“I hope that perhaps some other person that finds himself in the position that I was in on October 23 will learn from my mistakes that it is so much better for them and their community to step up and do the right thing,” Mr. Ryan said his client said in the courtroom.
Judge Condon told Mr. Orr he had “made a tragically poor decision” and that “Mr. Judge might be alive if you had called the police,” the defense attorney said, going on to say, “You seem like a decent young man. I give you credit for manning up and taking responsibility.”
“I was very happy that he did decide to say that he was sorry,” said Ms. Lupo, who was also in the courtroom last week. She said she hoped that a movement in the State Legislature to stiffen the penalty for leaving the scene of an accident would bear fruit.