Prude Death Investigation

Manslaughter charge against Hilton teen ‘too harsh’?

Local News

A Hilton teen, facing a manslaughter charge in the death of her best friend, could face several years behind bars. But today, at least one local attorney is saying that’s too harsh. 

Brianna Scarpulla, 18, made bail Wednesday, but her time in court is just beginning. She faces manslaughter and assault charges, after police say her reckless driving ultimately caused the death of Paige Smith and injured another.

“The assault is a charge based on a result involving a physical injury and manslaughter is a charge that pertains when a homicide occurs,” said Mark Foti, an attorney who focuses on criminal law, but is not involved with this case.

Foti says it’s difficult for him to understand Greece Police’s reasoning behind these charges. 

“Any paperwork that they have filed, has been vague on any details and hasn’t really explained what supports that charge,” explained Foti. 

At a press conference Wednesday, the Greece police chief said the investigation took three months due to waiting for the toxicology results (which came back clean) and reconstructing the accident that took place on June 10. Foti says, because police say the toxicology report came back clean, he’s confused why the charge of manslaughter in the second degree was chosen. 

“Manslaughter in the second degree is actually a higher charge than vehicular manslaughter in the second degree, which is what someone would be be charged with if they were intoxicated and a fatality occurred,” explained Foti.

Overall, Foti finds these charges to be harsh and not consistent with history of law in New York State. 

“The law on this, if the Greece Police were to have done their research on similar situations, doesn’t necessarily support a homicide charge at all. And not only did they decide to charge her with homicide, they went with the most severe charge that you can possible go with under these circumstances, one that may go beyond the scope of what’s permitted by law,” he said.

Foti also says that the charges could possibly change for Scarpulla, but that would be after the grand jury hears the evidence in the case.

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