Westfield man acquitted of manslaughter

WESTFIELD – A city man, Steven J. Morse, 39, of 65 Deborah Lane, has been convicted on two of eight charges by a jury in Hampshire Superior Court and faces mandatory jail time of at least 30 days and potentially as much as ten years.
A press release issued Thursday by the office of Northwestern District Attorney David A. Sullivan reports that Morse was found guilty of boat homicide by negligent operation, a misdemeanor, and misleading a police officer, a felony.
He was acquitted of charges of manslaughter, boat homicide by reckless operation while under the influence of alcohol, serious injury while operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol and three counts of child endangerment while under the influence.
The charges stem from an Aug. 17, 2010, accident on Norwich Lake in Huntington, which left a 10-year old Ludlow boy, Augustus “Gus” Adamopoulos, dead, and his father injured.
The father and son had been fishing on the lake in a kayak when a powerboat operated by Morse smashed into the craft.
Morse had told police that he had consumed two beers hours before he launched his boat but investigators reported that he had passed field sobriety tests and did not appear to be intoxicated immediately after the crash on the lake.
The charge of misleading the police stems from the fact that Morse did not, until several days after the accident, tell police that he had also smoked marijuana before he went boating.
His defense, led by Springfield attorney Michael Jennings, maintained that the crash was an accident for which nobody is responsible, that occurred because Morse had been temporally blinded by the glare of the setting sun on the lake and that, despite Morse’s acknowledged indulgences earlier in the day, he was not impaired while operating the boat.
Assistant Northwest District Attorney Matthew Thomas argued that Morse should have slowed down or altered course in response to the sun glare on the lake.
After the jury reported its conclusions, Judge Daniel A. Ford revoked Morse’s bail pending sentencing today in Hampshire Superior Court.
Morse faces a mandatory minimum 30 day jail term for the misdemeanor boat homicide charge while the felony charge of misleading police is punishable by a term of as much as 10 years in prison.

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