"When I heard the jury acquit the defendant of leaving the scene, I was absolutely astonished," Sedita said in a news conference after the verdict announcement.
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Dist. Attorney Frank Sedita:
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Judge Sheila DiTullio said the court considers it a partial verdict because the jury said it was deadlocked on one of the lesser driving while intoxicated (DWI) counts under the vehicular manslaughter. The jury couldn't reach a verdict on charge called DWI per se (driving a vehicle with a blood-alcohol level (BAC) of .08 or higher) but did reach a guilty verdict on the DWI common law charge (which allows the charge if a driver looks or acts drunk without the BAC level.
Sedita spoke with reporters in his office after the jury announced its verdict. The prosecution team of James Bargnesi, Kelley Omel, and Christopher Belling sat in the back of the room during Sedita's comments.
Sedita thinks the verdict may have been the results of the defendant's testimony.
"It appears to me that they credited the testimony of Dr. Corasanti. They bought it hook, line, and sinker," Sedita says.
Sedita says he's not going to "trash" the deliberations or the verdict from a sitting Erie County Court jury.
He also says he won't second guess his prosecution team.
"They (Bargnesi, Omel, and Belling) did a terrific job. The jury came back with the verdict they came back with," he says.
As for the guilty verdict on the common law DWI charge, Sedita says it has a maximum penalty of one year at the Erie County Correctional facility.
Sedita says he'll consult with his legal staff as to whether the office will pursue a new trial on the deadlocked DWI charge.