By Stephen J. Kotz
Anthony Oddone will not be going back to prison. In a plea deal arranged by his attorney and prosecutors from the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office, Mr. Oddone pleaded guilty on Thursday to a single charge of manslaughter in the first degree for the 2008 death of a bouncer at the Southampton Publick House.
As part of the deal, which averted a second trial in the case, Mr. Oddone was sentenced to five years of probation and time served for his 2010 conviction in the death of Andrew Reister after a 2008 altercation at the popular microbrewery and restaurant.
In a press release issued after the settlement, District Attorney Thomas Spota said although his “office was confident of earning another conviction, the victim’s family wanted to be spared the trauma of a second jury trial and their wishes were the primary factor in the decision to accept Mr. Oddone’s guilty plea.”
Asked on Monday to elaborate on the family’s feelings on the matter, Robert Clifford, a spokesman for Mr. Spota, responded in an email, “The family was adamant in their position that they did not want to go forward with another trial.”
Mr. Oddone’s attorney, Serita Kedia, did not return calls seeking comment.
The plea deal capped a wild turn of events in the case.
Mr. Oddone was found guilty of manslaughter by a Suffolk County Criminal Court jury in 2010 in the death of Mr. Reister, an off-duty Suffolk County corrections officer, who had been working at the Publick House as a bouncer.
Mr. Oddone had put Mr. Reister in a headlock that cut off the flow of oxygen to his brain after Mr. Reister tried to stop him from dancing on a table.
But last December, Mr. Oddone, who had been sentenced to 17 years in prison and had already served a total of five years and four months behind bars, was released when the Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, overturned his conviction. The court ruled that Criminal Court Justice Randall Hinrichs had erred when he did not allow Mr. Oddone’s defense to refresh the memory of a witness who had given conflicting testimony about the length of time of Mr. Oddone held Mr., Reister in the headlock.
Mr. Oddone, who has been free on $500,000 cash bail, appeared again before Justice Hinrchs, who is now a state Supreme Court justice, two weeks ago after being indicted a second time. After he entered a not guilty plea at that time, his attorney gave no hint that a plea deal was in the works, saying only that his February 20 appearance would likely be a routine conference among attorneys in the case.
Mr. Oddone, who remains free on bail, will be formally sentenced on March 19.