Guilty plea in bouncer's death, Anthony Oddone gets time served
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The former Farmingville man who killed a Southampton bar bouncer in 2008 pleaded guilty Wednesday in a deal recommended by the victim's family that ensures the defendant will not spend another day in prison.
Anthony Oddone's first-degree manslaughter conviction in the death of off-duty Suffolk County correction officer Andrew Reister, 40, of Hampton Bays, was overturned in December by the state Court of Appeals. The court ruled that then-Suffolk County Court Judge C. Randall Hinrichs should have allowed Oddone's defense to remind a witness to the altercation of an earlier statement in which she said Oddone had Reister in the headlock for a much shorter period of time than she had testified to at the trial.
Wednesday, Oddone, 30, who now lives upstate, pleaded guilty as charged before Hinrichs, now a State Supreme Court justice, in return for a sentence of 5 years, 4 months and 16 days, the exact amount of time he served after his 2010 conviction.
"Under the circumstances, this was the most appropriate outcome," said Oddone's trial attorney, Sarita Kedia of Manhattan. "It allows everyone to move on."
The Suffolk district attorney's office said the Reister family urged it to make the deal.
"This office is confident a retrial would have resulted in a second conviction," said Robert Clifford, spokesman for the office. "The victim's family urged this office to spare them the ordeal of retrying the case, and we will respect the wishes of the family."
Clifford said Oddone gave up his right to appeal as part of the plea deal.
Reister's death was the result of a fight in August 2008 at the Southampton Publick House. Witnesses said Reister told Oddone to stop dancing on a table and then either shoved or pulled him off the table. As they fell to the ground, Oddone got the much bigger Reister in a headlock and held on until he was unconscious.
Reister died two days later of cardiac arrest.
The length of time the headlock lasted was the key issue during the trial. Prosecution witnesses said Oddone held on for several minutes and wouldn't let go until others punched and kicked him. The defense said Oddone reacted in self-defense and that the hold lasted less than 30 seconds.
The defense called waitress Megan Flynn as a witness and she testified the hold lasted "a minute or so." Kedia tried to remind her that she had told an insurance investigator it was only 6 to 10 seconds, but Hinrichs wouldn't allow it. That was unfair, the Court of Appeals ruled.
Since his release, Kedia said Oddone has returned to college and is a project manager at a sports rehabilitation facility. "He is being extraordinarily productive," she said.