2007-06-15 / Front Page

Bain Case Alienates Son, Makes Him A 'Pawn'

Family Members Express Concern
By Brian Magoolaghan

Relatives of Thomas Bain, the teenager whose father was recently convicted of killing his mother in a drunken-driving crash, want him to know that they care about him and are worried that he's being used to win sympathy for his father in court.

Thomas' maternal grandmother, Jackie Murtagh Abrams, and uncle, Billy Murtagh, told The Wave this week that they're upset with the rift between them and Thomas, and with the way the 13- year-old has factored into his father's defense.

The grandmother and uncle say they've been unfairly accused of treating Thomas like an outcast, and that he's being used as a "pawn" to garner sympathy for his father, Edward Bain, 40. The elder Bain is being held without bail, and faces anywhere from probation to 15 years in prison when he is sentenced next month for the 2005 drunken-driving crash in which Donna Bain, 36, was killed.

Reports in the Daily News and New York Post on Thursday focused on the fact that Thomas was not allowed to speak to his father at a bail hearing Wednesday and described Thomas in Queens Supreme Court as "doubled over as if in pain" with "his eyes filled with tears."

His family members allege that Thomas is being set up for more suffering.

"The hearing was a bail hearing - not a visitation," said a frustrated Murtagh. "They're bringing [Thomas] there for sympathy, but in actuality they're hurting him," he said. "These guys are setting Thomas up for this. Why set this kid up for more hurt?"

Kevin Ryan, a spokesperson for the Queens District Attorney, said that it would have been unusual for the court to allow Thomas to speak with his father at the hearing. "Usually they don't speak at these appearances," said Ryan. He added that brief eye contact is usually all that's exchanged.

Edward Bain's attorney, Dennis Coppin, dismissed allegations that Thomas is being used for sympathy and said the teen never expected to speak with his father. Thomas attended the hearing because "he's very interested in the proceedings and he loves his father very much," Coppin said.

Thomas has been in the care of Bill Dunn, a friend of his father. Murtagh Abrams hasn't communicated with him in months, and Murtagh said emails between him and his nephew ceased about a month ago. Both said they haven't tried to approach Thomas at the courthouse because they're afraid of exacerbating the situation by causing a scene. They've also tried to avoid worsening the divide by remaining dignified in court, they said.

Murtagh and Murtagh Abrams said they're suffering notwithstanding Edward Bain's conviction on manslaughter and other charges on June 7.

"Everybody is suffering here and were all suffering because of Ed Bain, nobody else," Murtagh said. He added that he is hopeful that his nephew starts anew outside of Rockaway.

"Thomas has the opportunity to live with family in several other states - to get a fresh start," said Murtagh, who lives in Hawaii.

Edward Bain is being held without bail. His sentencing is scheduled for Tuesday, July 10.

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