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Sep 25, 2009 9:58 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Oddone trial to start next Thursday

Sep 25, 2009 9:58 AM

The trial of Anthony Oddone, who faces murder charges after being accused of strangling Hampton Bays resident Andrew Reister last summer, will begin in a Riverhead courtroom late next week with the start of jury selection scheduled for Thursday, October 1.

Pre-trial hearings will conclude in the Arthur M. Cromarty Criminal Courts Building in Riverhead on Monday, September 28. Also on Monday, the attorneys for the two sides will discuss the logistics of selecting jurors, including how Mr. Reister’s career as a corrections officer can be discussed without biasing the prospective panel.

Jury selection was originally scheduled to start on Tuesday, September 29, but has been postponed because Judge Randall Hinrichs is overseeing another trial that is not expected to conclude until early next week.

Mr. Oddone, 26, who has been held without bail at the New York City Jail on Rikers Island since his arrest, will be in the courtroom for Monday’s hearings.

The trial could take several weeks to conduct, but attorneys from both sides are keeping tight-lipped about how they plan to conduct their respective arguments in the case.

Though Mr. Oddone’s attorney, Manhattan criminal defender Sarita Kedia, has revealed little about her planned defense of the former caddy and military veteran, evidence presented at pre-trial hearings seems to point toward a claim of self-defense.

Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota’s office and Assistant District Attorney Denise Merrifield, who is handling the prosecution in the case, have yet to reveal whether they plan to argue that Mr. Oddone intentionally killed Mr. Reister or whether he should be found guilty of “depraved indifference” for continuing to hold the 40-year-old corrections officer in a headlock long after he had fallen unconscious.

While the prosecution and defense have not discussed any plea bargains, it is still possible that one or both sides could ask Judge Randall C. Hinrichs at the trial’s conclusion to instruct 
the jury to consider lesser charges. 
The judge could also order that the lesser charges be introduced even if no request is made by the defense or prosecution—though such action is rare.

“Intent is very hard to determine, and lots of times a defense attorney is willing to admit their client did something criminal but not what the DA is saying they did, and they will ask that a lesser charge be introduced,” said Steven Wilutis, a defense attorney and former Suffolk County assistant district attorney who has tried several criminal cases before Judge Hinrichs, but is not involved in the Oddone trial. “For the jury, it gives them a compromise verdict—to find him not guilty of the worst charges but not let him go entirely.”

Though he said he is not familiar with the facts in the Oddone case, in cases involving murder in the second degree, Mr. Wilutis said, a jury might be asked to consider alternative charges of second-degree manslaughter or even criminally negligent homicide, a minor felony that carries a maximum sentence of four years.

Mr. Oddone, a Farmingville resident, is charged with two counts of murder in the second degree stemming from the death of Mr. Reister, a father of two and a Suffolk County Department of Corrections officer, after a struggle in a Southampton Village tavern, where Mr. Reister was moonlighting as an ID checker.

According to police reports and evidence presented thus far in pre-trial hearings, Mr. Oddone went to the Southampton Publick House with two other friends on the night of August 6, 2008. Shortly after 1 a.m., he was told by Mr. Reister to get off a table he had climbed on top of to dance with a group of girls. A struggle ensued and Mr. Oddone, who is 6 feet 1 inch tall and about 175 pounds, wound up on top of Mr. Reister, who was 6 feet 4 inches tall and 250 pounds, with his arm wrapped around the larger man’s neck. Despite pleas by his friends and other patrons, and at least one attempt to physically pull him off Mr. Reister, Mr. Oddone did not release his grip, even after Mr. Reister had stopped struggling.

Mr. Oddone then fled the scene in a taxicab but was apprehended by Southampton Village Police less than a mile away.

Following the incident, Mr. Reister could not be revived by paramedics and lay in a coma for two days before being pronounced dead on August 9.

Mr. Reister worked at the Suffolk County Jail in Riverhead, next door to the courthouse where Mr. Oddone will be tried, for 15 years. Corrections officers from the jail, as well as other corrections departments around the metropolitan area, have attended arraignments and hearings in the trial in uniform. Mr. Oddone’s defense team has asked that the officers be barred from doing so during the trial itself because it may influence the jury. Judge Hinrichs has yet to rule on the request.

Mr. Oddone, who was an honors student at St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue, was working as a caddy at The Bridge golf club in Noyac at the time of the incident. Members of the exclusive club, where Mr. Oddone had worked for several summers, are believed to be funding his defense, though Ms. Kedia has declined to say who is paying her.

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That village tavern was the Southampton Publick House. I think that is an important fact to this story. Why it wasn't named in the article seems odd.
By ride the truth wave (125), southampton on Sep 24, 09 11:21 AM
It is identified in the 11th paragraph.
By BOReilly (135), Hampton Bays on Sep 24, 09 12:51 PM
I believe members of the Bridge golf course are funding his defense. They should be ashamed of themselves and should have given that money to the victims widow
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Sep 24, 09 12:26 PM
I agree, the money would go to a lot better cause Andrew's family. It's been a year and this poor family has to go through the ordeal, again.
By Sky King (4), Hampton Bays on Oct 11, 09 2:11 PM
So "ride the truth wave" can't read worth a lick, and "razza5350" thinks he should decide how others spend their money.

This website has become a terrific argument against the old AOL "Internet for everyone" marketing strategy.
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Sep 24, 09 1:54 PM
But your comment is exempt?
By yearrounder (208), Southampton on Sep 24, 09 2:20 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By thetruthhurts (21), southampton on Sep 24, 09 2:16 PM
Hopefully this kid gets a fair trial. I know if some bouncer, ID checker or whatever ever they want to call themselves put their hands on me...there would be big problems.

Im looking forward to seeing the facts of this story come to the surface.
By slamminsammy (104), East Moriches on Sep 24, 09 3:41 PM
1 member liked this comment
So if you come in to my place of business and don't abide by the rules I have set forth, how does it get resolved? I let you continue to do what you want while intoxicated? or do I have security ask you to leave and when you refuse you are physically taken of the building? Do I let you stay and disrupt other patrons while they are having a good time or do I escort you out?

What gives you the right to come into my bar and get into a physical confrontation with my staff?
By ridiculous (214), hampton bays on Sep 25, 09 10:31 AM
We don't know all the facts by any means IMO. Tragic results may have started with aggressive actions by bouncer unfortunately. Time will tell fairly soon. Anger solves no problems.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Sep 24, 09 5:11 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Sep 24, 09 9:18 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By jonnyhampton (29), Southampton on Sep 24, 09 9:58 PM
Exempt from what, yearrounder?

By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Sep 24, 09 10:19 PM
Exempt from helping this website to "become a terrific argument against the old AOL "Internet for everyone" marketing strategy?" I'll answer it for you - Your comments or no less inane than the very comments you rail against.
By yearrounder (208), Southampton on Sep 24, 09 10:34 PM
The truth will come out in the trial. The wholething is a massive tradegy. Why it happend, why no one could stop it will all come out. The folks at Bridge Golf could do the right thing and start a fund for the family they certainly have enough money. It wont right the wrong but certainly would be the better use of funds...Everyone is watching the trial. Keep reporting the news 27east.
By North Sea Citizen (568), North Sea on Sep 25, 09 6:41 AM
According to the reports, Oddone continued his assault long after the situation, whosever fault it was, was under control. Its the same as if he punched him and knocked him out and then proceeded to kick his skull in. I also believe as an ex-bouncer that the establishment should never allow 1 person to confront any patron alone. Also shame on all the other patrons who stood there and whatched. I am positive that while Mr. Oddone was busy having his arms and legs already occupied had left the ...more
By Vbalchunas (11), Southampton on Sep 25, 09 7:00 AM
2 members liked this comment
Ahhhh, yearrounder, you must be an AOL user.

"...like jamming a fork in his eye." Aren't we the blood-thirsty Monday morning QB, Vbalchunas!

A much simpler and probably more effective approach would have been for someone to start breaking the assailant's fingers. Easy to accomplish, and about the time the second or third one snapped, the grip would have been loosened and the more physical part would have been over.

It's easy to critique an event well after the fact, and ...more
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Sep 25, 09 10:36 AM
Hmmm, "he-man hairy chest-pounding" I wonder if the following comments fit into that category: "Little Bobby Muchnick is acting like a whiny little punk." "It's Quogue, you doofus!" "Scew the unions! Be happy that there's work to be had" "BruceB, close your mouth and re-read the article" "They're all inept! Throw the rascals out!"

By yearrounder (208), Southampton on Sep 25, 09 11:32 AM

Unsupportable, even on a historical basis.

Don't care what your personal problem with me is, but I thought that this was a discussion about the Oddone trial.
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Sep 28, 09 11:35 AM
There were lots of up-close witnesses, so I am sure there will be no dispute about the facts.

It is probably just going to be about how much time this guy gets.
By Phillip1 (3), Hampton Bays on Sep 25, 09 11:55 AM
Our Country is in a war
By jonnyhampton (29), Southampton on Sep 25, 09 7:28 PM
and you people are arguing about something that none of you witnessed or were even around for! QUIT BICKERING at eachother!!
By jonnyhampton (29), Southampton on Sep 25, 09 7:30 PM
1 member liked this comment
Editor, if Imay restate comment: "in my opinion, this less (potentially) less than upstanding citizen..while not proven yet in a court of law..stands a chance at receiving a verdict of guilty". All charges are solely alleged until proven to the standards required for the particular charges. and, should the death penalty be available, it would be acceptable to me personally that it be applied in this case. I trust this sounds better than my deleted comment of ''guilty''. thank you.
By thetruthhurts (21), southampton on Sep 26, 09 7:38 AM
Mr.Reister was a good man. He didn't deserve to lose his life by some fool who has no self control. My thoughts and prayers to his loved ones left behind.
By ICARE (23), SOUTHAMPTON on Sep 26, 09 9:22 AM
WOW A great man was killed by this kid and 2 kids lost there father and a great woman lost her husband and all the comments are about how his defense is being paid and the ruls at the bar. why dont everyone talk about the mindless loss on this family. my thoughts and prays are with all of you and i hope he is found guilty and goes to jail for a long long time. love all in las vegas.
By michael sciulli (2), north las vegas on Sep 28, 09 5:58 AM
Oddone's actions directly lead to the tragedy not the rules at the bar. Oddone should be held accountable for what he did. Hopefully he will stand up like a man, apoligize for his actions, stop blaming everyone but himself, ask for forgiveness from the victims family, and accept his fate.
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Sep 29, 09 11:19 AM
Ins let me get this straight. You are saying Oddone killed the bouncer because he couldnt dance on the table and the girls could.
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Sep 30, 09 10:18 AM
I'd like to know if the bar is helping the widow and her children ? Also, why couldn't anyone, the bar employees or patrons try to help Andy? While Oddone was holding Andy where were the employees of the bar, just watching ? Shouldn't they assume some responsibility also ? If someone sliped and fell they would be sued, can the family also sue the owner/ business ?
By Sky King (4), Hampton Bays on Oct 11, 09 2:09 PM