Bain Trial For DUI, Manslaughter Underway
By Howard Schwach
Jury selection in the case of Edward Bain, a Belle Harbor man who was allegedly intoxicated when he crashed his Lexus into a utility pole and a tree in Broad Channel in September of 2005, killing his wife, began on Wednesday in Queens Supreme Court. By late in the day, only three of the 12 jurors were chosen.
"This will be a long and tough case," one long-time court observer told The Wave on Thursday. "It may well take weeks and the jury selection will probably go into next week."
Bain, 39, was indicted in April of 2006 on charges of manslaughter and driving under the influence of intoxicating beverages or drugs.
He reportedly turned down a plea bargain deal in December of 2005 that would have given him two years in prison. Experts said at the time that he could have walked free in as little as 16 months if he had taken the plea-bargain. Bain faces 15 years if he is convicted of the original charges he now faces.
On September 23, 2005, Bain, a Verizon field technician, lost control of his 1999 Lexus and slammed into a utility pole and then a tree. He was nearly thrown from the car and his wife, Donna Marie Murtagh Bain, was crushed into the back seat by the force of the crash. Neither was wearing a seatbelt, police sources say.
He refused to undergo blood testing at the hospital, but police detectives got the court's permission to restrain him and take a sample.
Bain's indictment in April revealed that his blood-alcohol content (BAC) on the night of the crash was .08, the legal threshold for drunk driving cases in New York State.
Court records show that at the hospital, hours after the incident, Bain denied involvement.
"I wasn't driving, I don't know who the woman [in the passenger's seat] is," Bain said, according to the court papers.
The source, who asked not to be identifed because he has no permission to talk with the media, added that Bain said that [the victim] was his sister-in-law and that his brother-in-law was going to "kick his ass. [when he got home]."
Bain also taunted the police, the source said, asking the investigating officers, "What are you going to do, find the bartender?"
The Bain family, who live at 433 Beach 128 Street in Belle Harbor, have an 11-year-old son, Thomas Peter, who has been living with his father while the elder Bain was out on bail.
Locals say that the son has been devastated by his mother's death and his father's indictment .
"This case is another example of the lethal consequences resulting from driving while intoxicated," said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said at the time of Bain's arraignment. "Now the defendant will have to live the rest of his life knowing that if he did not get behind the wheel that evening, his wife would still be alive."
When asked to comment on the case this week, Brown added, "I'm careful not to talk about pending litigation [for fear of] prejudicing the case. This is a case where a woman lost her life. We will present the case fairly and as completely as we can and the jury will make a determination."