A former assistant caddiemaster at an exclusive East Hampton golf club accepted a plea agreement Thursday, admitting to killing the club’s head caddie after a verbal argument turned violent inside his home in February.
Marc Dern, 35, of East Hampton, pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter and will be sentenced to five years in prison and five years post-release supervision, according to the agreement outlined before Supreme Court Justice John Collins.
Dern admitted placing Kevin Somers, his employer at The Maidstone Club, in a “headlock or chokehold” during an argument the night of Feb. 5, causing him to lose consciousness. Assistant District Attorney Elena Tomaro said Somers died from a neck compression.
About a dozen of Somers’ family members and supporters were in the courtroom Thursday, wiping away tears as Dern admitted that he was not acting in self-defense and knew what he was doing as his friend lost consciousness. Family members declined to comment as they left the courtroom.
Dern, who was represented by defense attorneys Andrew Weinstein of Manhattan and Brian DeSesa of Hampton Bays, said his wife and two children were inside the home at the time the altercation broke out.
Dern and his attorneys declined to comment Thursday. He remains free on $150,000 cash bail.
Collins warned Dern to avoid trouble between now and his interim sentencing date April 14.
“You need to watch your behavior,” the judge told him.
Prosecutors previously said Somers visited the Dern house Feb. 5 to watch a golf tournament on television.
Prosecutors said in February the fight was sparked when Dern's wife told Somers to leave the home because she wanted to put her two sons, ages 2 and 4, to bed.
Dern's wife told police that Somers was drinking, "getting aggressive" and was "out of control" before the fight, prosecutors previously said.
The two men began "wrestling" and the fight escalated, charging documents from February state.
East Hampton Town Police responded to the Lincoln Avenue home shortly before 11 p.m. following a 911 call. Somers, 45, was taken to Stony Brook Southampton Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Dern told Judge Collins the two had been friends for several years. His previous attorney told reporters they were “best friends.”
Shortly after his death, friends told Newsday that Somers was the father of a teenage girl and he was known as a three-sport athlete at East Hampton High School in the 1990s. A scholarship benefiting local student athletes was set up in his name this year, raising more than $70,000.
Dern faced up to 25 years in prison if convicted at trial of first-degree manslaughter, a violent felony.