By Stephen J. Kotz
As expected, Anthony Oddone, whose 2009 conviction in the death of a bouncer in a Southampton bar was overturned last year, pleaded not guilty on Thursday, February 6, to a new felony charge of first-degree manslaughter in the case.
State Supreme Court Justice C. Randall Hinrichs, who presided over Mr. Oddone’s appearance in Suffolk County Criminal Court in Riverside, allowed the defendant to remain free on $500,000 cash bail at his arraignment on the new indictment, according to Robert Clifford, a spokesman for Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota.
Mr. Oddone is due back on court on February 19, according to his attorney, Serita Kedia of New York, and is only allowed to remain in New York City or travel to Orange County, where his mother lives, as well as Suffolk County for court appearances.
Mr. Oddone had been serving a 17-year sentence for first-degree manslaughter in the 2008 death of Andrew Reister, 40, when the state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, overturned his conviction in December, setting the stage for a new trial.
The case revolved around an altercation at the Southampton Publick House between Mr. Oddone and Mr. Reister, a Suffolk County corrections officer who was moonlighting as a bouncer at the bar.
Mr. Reister lost consciousness after Mr. Oddone put him in a headlock, and later died from a lack of oxygen to his brain. An autopsy found that Mr. Reister’s death was caused when his neck was compressed and pressure put on the carotid artery, reducing the flow of blood to his brain and causing his heart to stop.
The Appeals Court overturned the conviction, also presided over by Justice Hinrichs, after Mr. Oddone’s defense argued that witnesses had provided conflicting accounts of the length of time Mr. Oddone held Mr. Reister in the headlock.
Specifically, the court ruled that defense attorneys should have been allowed to refresh the memory of Meagan Flynn, a waitress at the bar, who testified that the headlock could have lasted a minute or so but who in an earlier statement said it could have lasted for as short as six to 10 seconds.
At his first trial, a jury acquitted Mr. Oddone of second-degree murder, which could have carried a life sentence, but instead found him guilty of manslaughter.
Mr. Oddone, a former caddy at The Bridge golf club in Noyac, has been free on bail since shortly before Christmas.