2005-12-16 / Front Page

Plea Offer In Deadly ‘Drunk’ Driving Crash

By Brian Magoolaghan

Donna Marie Murtagh Bain was killed in a car crash in September. Prosecutors say her husband, Edward, was drunk at the wheel. Donna Marie Murtagh Bain was killed in a car crash in September. Prosecutors say her husband, Edward, was drunk at the wheel. A Belle Harbor man who is charged with killing his wife in a high-speed drunk-driving accident could serve less than two years in prison if he accepts a plea bargain offered this week by prosecutors, The Wave has learned.

Edward T. Bain, 38, was back in Queens Criminal Court on Monday where sources say Assistant District Attorney Neal Morse put the two-year sentence on the bargaining table. Bain faces up to 15 years in prison if he’s convicted of the original charges: manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter and drunk driving. Under the terms of the plea bargain, Bain could walk free, without parole, after serving about 16 months.

On September 23, Bain, a Verizon field technician, lost control of his Lexus and slammed into a utility pole and a tree on Cross Bay Boulevard in Broad Channel. His wife Donna, 35, was killed in the passenger seat. A criminal complaint alleges that Bain was drunk and speeding. He refused to undergo blood testing at the hospital, but investigators got the court’s permission to restrain him and take a sample.

Nearly three months after the deadly crash, the District Attorney’s office has not made the blood results public.

News of the possible plea deal was an upsetting surprise to Donna’s grieving mother, Jackie Murtagh Abrams.

“It just blows my mind,” Abrams told The Wave this week. “The ADA is trying to make [the plea offer] look good,” she said, “How can this be good? My daughter is dead.”

Abrams said she begged her daughter to leave Bain for years and that in 2000 Donna nearly did. But Bain found out about her plans to live with relatives in Ohio and, after a meeting with her in a playground on Shore Front Parkway, convinced her to stay with him. The couple had a son, Thomas, 11, together.

Abrams’ comments also provided a glimpse into the tension surrounding Donna’s funeral: Bain, who suffered face, back and neck injuries, faced his and Donna’s family members shortly after he was arraigned on manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter and drunk-driving charges in connection with the crash.

“Everybody there wanted to kill him,” Abrams told The Wave, “We just didn’t speak to him.” That decision, which could have prevented a family fracas, upset 11-year-old Thomas, she said.

Bain has until January 10 to consider the plea bargain with his attorney, Patrick Brackley, who replaced attorney Joseph Mure. Brackley did not return a call seeking comment.

A spokeswoman for District Attorney Richard A. Brown declined to comment for this story.

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