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Feb 19, 2014 5:09 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Oddone Pleads Guilty To Manslaughter Charge

Feb 20, 2014 11:26 AM

Anthony Oddone pleaded guilty Wednesday afternoon to first-degree manslaughter, under an agreement with prosecutors, for the 2008 killing of Suffolk County corrections officer Andrew Reister, likely sparing him any additional prison time and drawing to a close what has been a prolonged and tumultuous case.

Dressed in a shirt and tie, Mr. Oddone, accompanied only by his attorneys, admitted in a Riverhead courtroom to killing Mr. Reister, who was working his second job as a bouncer, by compressing his neck with his arms following a brawl at the Southampton Publick House. Mr. Reister’s widow, Stacey Reister, watched the courtroom proceedings from the edge of her seat and let out a relieved, “yes,” after Mr. Oddone uttered the word “guilty.”

Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney Denise Merrifield, the lead prosecutor on the case, said during the proceeding that while her office was confident they could have convicted Mr. Oddone—for a second time—of the manslaughter charges, Mr. Reister’s family asked that they be spared the stress of a second trial.

A 2009 jury convicted Mr. Oddone of the same charge, though the conviction was thrown out late last year by the state’s highest court, sending it back to Suffolk County for a retrial. The jury acquitted him of the more serious second-degree murder charge.

As part of the plea agreement, Mr. Oddone will likely face a sentence of five years, four months and 16 days—time he has already served—plus five years of post-release supervision when he is sentenced on March 19. The first-degree manslaughter charge would otherwise carry a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison.

Mr. Oddone also forfeited his right to appeal both the guilty plea and his sentence as part of the deal. He spoke only briefly during the court proceeding, responding either “yes” or “no” to Judge C. Randall Hinrichs’s questions, and declined to comment further outside the courtroom.

“This was a family decision,” Ms. Reister said. “This was our choice. We all sat and discussed it at length, both sides, and we are all in agreement.”

Sarita Kedia, Mr. Oddone’s Manhattan attorney, said that given the circumstances, “We believe this was an appropriate decision for both parties involved.” She added that she expected Mr. Oddone would be able to move on and continue a productive life.

Last month, she said her client was living in Brooklyn and working in Manhattan, while also attending school.

On August 7, 2008, Mr. Reister, 40, was working part-time as a bouncer at the Southampton Publick House. Mr. Oddone was at the bar dancing on a low table with a woman. When Mr. Reister asked Mr. Oddone to get down, he refused. Mr. Reister then pushed him off. A fight broke out between the two, during which Mr. Oddone placed Mr. Reister in a choke hold, maintaining his grip even after Mr. Reister fell unconscious and while onlookers screamed at him and tried to pull him off, according to court documents. Mr. Oddone then attempted to flee in a taxi.

Mr. Reister, a father of two, was declared brain dead two days later.

Mr. Oddone had served five years of a 17-year sentence when he was released after supporters posted $500,000 cash bail two days before Christmas. Earlier that month a state Appeals Court decision threw out his first-degree manslaughter conviction, sending the case back for a new trial on grounds that the trial court had erred when it refused to allow the defense to remind a witness of statements she had made related to the duration of the choke hold, according to court documents.

After the incident, the witness told insurance investigators that she saw Mr. Oddone hold the choke hold for six to 10 seconds, but when the defense asked the same question of her during the trial about a year later, she said it “could have been a minute or so.”

The high court ruled that it was unfair for the jury to hear that “damaging” testimony without allowing the defense to make use of her prior, more favorable answer.

After Wednesday’s proceeding about 10 of Mr. Reister’s family members, including his widow, parents and brother, quietly applauded.

“These were my wishes, my family’s wishes,” Ms. Reister said.

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When money talks, Oddone walks
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Feb 19, 14 5:22 PM
Unbelievable. What a stunning travesty of justice.
Feb 19, 14 6:27 PM appended by KevinLuss
Good luck to the family and glad they at least have closure.
By KevinLuss (356), SH on Feb 19, 14 6:27 PM
1 member liked this comment
Isn't that what he was convicted of in the first place? With the same sentence?
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Feb 19, 14 6:35 PM
He pleaded guilty to first degree manslaughter, sentenced to the time he already has served and will now have 5 years probation. It may have been the Reister family wishes, but something does not set right with me about this deal.
By BruceB (142), Sag Harbor on Feb 19, 14 7:58 PM
Seems like a compromise. I didn't know either party but pushing someone off a table is assault. There is no law against dancing on tables, unless you're unattractive. Certainly not more dangerous to dance on a table than it is to be shoved off one - that could break your neck. It's akin to having the police ram your car off the road for a minor speeding offense, just to prove that speeding is dangerous. And once he responded to being shoved off it would have been difficult to let go without ...more
By Funbeer (273), Southampton on Feb 20, 14 3:03 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By squeaky (291), hampton bays on Feb 20, 14 12:05 PM
And that warrants killing someone? That's some interesting logic you got there.
By johnj (1024), Westhampton on Feb 20, 14 1:39 PM
2 members liked this comment
Trial, sentence, appeal...appeal...new trial. Then more appeals. Nothing would change. Nothing will being Andrew back either. Oddone is loose, let's see for how long...zebras don't loose their stripes. It's not easy for the Reister family to relive this drama on a daily basis, constantly broadcasted by the media. Let them have their peace. Give Oddone an inch...he'll run with it!
By AnonymousSgh (183), Sag Harbor on Feb 20, 14 7:26 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By ghost (29), hampton bays on Feb 20, 14 12:52 PM
AMEN!!!! No one knows what this was like except for Andrew Reister's family.... they need to do what is best for THEM.....

good call Anonymous Sgh!
By honeylamb (71), East Quogue on Feb 20, 14 10:29 PM
Amazing kill someone serve 5 years thats crazy
By bigblue84 (89), Hampton Bays on Feb 20, 14 8:00 PM
if your drunk and kill someone with a kid in the car and an open container in the cup holder, before leandras law you serve less than 6 months. even with it being your second DWI offense.
By Sour09 (18), Hampton Bays on Feb 21, 14 3:25 PM
Wanna know what is also amazing.. killing kids because you didn't like the loud music and then pleading stand your ground law.
I knew the Reister family well and cannot imagine the pain of their loss, pain of missing such a really nice guy as Andrew for the rest of their lives. Peace is due them now as they go about their business and a credit to the community.
By summertime (589), summerfield fl on Feb 27, 14 2:31 PM
2 members liked this comment
OK!!! Here's the deal.....

I KNOW THIS FAMILY AND HAVE BEEN WITH THIS NIGHTMARE SINCE DAY ONE! This poor family decided what was BEST FOr THEM and for their CHILDREN... who.. let's remember are MINORS..... so unless you were there every day, lived this everyday, and walk in the Reister shoes... you have absolutely NO IDEA what you are talking about..... time to let them move on!!
By honeylamb (71), East Quogue on Feb 20, 14 10:27 PM
Honeylamb, with all due respect to the Reister family, I think posters are just concerned with the apparent lax penalty. Citizens demand and deserve justice. These types of agreements affect more than just the victim's family but the families of countless future victims. It is terrible what the Reister family has had to endure and I wish them peace. A peace that our justice system was not able to deliver.
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Feb 21, 14 4:45 PM
2 members liked this comment
This sentence sets a horrible precedent for all members of law enforcement. Suppose a correction officer is off duty and runs into one of their former guests while out shopping and gets attacked by a former inmate. The inmate now feels that he will not face a just punishment. As somebody who has a family member in law enforcement, I worry everyday for their safety. This sentence is a travesty.

By rightwing (18), East Quogue on Feb 22, 14 9:43 AM
Why would law enforcement get more protection than non law enforcement is this case?
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Feb 22, 14 5:32 PM
Im happy for both sides that this is behind us.
By MICHAELK (3), MONTAUK on Feb 22, 14 9:30 PM
Behind "us" ... Please clarify.
By AnonymousSgh (183), Sag Harbor on Feb 23, 14 4:00 PM
I just do not understand how you can be "happy" for both sides. If you are not one from either side, you just have no clue and you are just throwing a random comment out there.
By AnonymousSgh (183), Sag Harbor on Feb 23, 14 5:29 PM
anymoussgh. I certainly have a clue as I was there a lot and a friend of Anthony's if you must know
By MICHAELK (3), MONTAUK on Feb 25, 14 8:00 AM
Oh how lucky for you...You must be so "happy". The Reister family doesn't have much to be happy about. A 14 yr. old boy without his Dad, because he was choked to death by Anthony Oddone...an 8 yr. old little girl without her Daddy, for the same reason. A mother that will never have her son back. I just wonder how happy your friend Anthony can be living with this on his conscience. Most would be racked with demons... He will have to live with himself, no matter where he goes.
By AnonymousSgh (183), Sag Harbor on Feb 25, 14 3:02 PM
2 members liked this comment
Friend of the Devil.
By Draggerman (955), Southampton on Feb 26, 14 9:28 PM
1 member liked this comment
Not surprising that you are a friend of Anthony's. As soon as I read your inane comment I figured you were.

Behind us? Seriously? Are you saying that Mr. Oddone is just moving ahead with his life without any compunction for what happened? Even if he thinks he was blameless, which doesn't seem to be the case since he ran out of the establishment after the altercation, are you saying that he will now forget and move on? I seriously hope he isn't that heartless.

As far as the ...more
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Mar 2, 14 7:55 PM
1 member liked this comment
too bad Anthony wasn't let loose in the general population while he was incarcerated , this would have never been an issue.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Feb 26, 14 10:26 PM
I'm not sure whether you are implying that the inmates would have killed him (doubtful) or that the corrections officers would have taken the law into their hands and meted out their own sentence. Either way your comment is not very complimentary of the COs abilities or sense of justice and the rule of law...
By Arnold Timer (327), Sag Harbor on Mar 1, 14 3:31 PM
Mrs. Reister ageed to what she felt best for her wellbeing and that of her family. Here's what I think. Anthony Oddone will always carry what h'e done with him. One of two things will come from this. 1. He will do his best to live a life that is worthy of the life he took. 2. He will not be able to hack the life of an ex-con and end up offending before his parole is up and go back to jail. His character is weak, so I'm thinking it will be the latter. He can go back to school, he will still be ...more
By pstevens (406), Wilmington on Mar 19, 14 12:11 PM
1 member liked this comment
pstevens Mr. Oddone already has been hired for a good job. I am not here to offend anyone and I think its best to put all this in the past but you asked a question who would hire him? He has been hired and has a job.
By MICHAELK (3), MONTAUK on Mar 20, 14 10:54 PM