Good Morning
Good Morning
Long IslandSuffolk

Mom gets 3 to 9 years in baby's death

Jennifer Jorgensen arrives at Riverhead courthouse for her

Jennifer Jorgensen arrives at Riverhead courthouse for her sentencing on June 22, 2012. Credit: John Roca

A Suffolk judge sentenced a Sound Beach woman Friday to 3 to 9 years in prison for the death of her baby, born prematurely as a result of a head-on crash four years ago in Ridge that killed two other people.

State Supreme Court Justice William Condon said Jennifer Jorgensen, 32, has had a pattern "of taking steps to avoid responsibility. Today we have to face responsibility."

Jorgensen was convicted in March of second-degree manslaughter in the death of her baby, Ashley, after two lengthy trials. The first one, last year, ended with a hung verdict. In the second, jurors acquitted her of aggravated vehicular homicide and manslaughter for the deaths of Robert and Mary Kelly, and driving while impaired by prescription drugs and alcohol.

Jurors rejected the argument that Jorgensen had been drinking and taking anti-anxiety pills before crashing into the Ridge couple's vehicle on Whiskey Road in May 2008.

In court Friday, Assistant District Attorney Laura Newcombe mounted a lengthy and detailed attack on Jorgensen's character.

She accused Jorgensen of blaming Robert Kelly, 74, for his own death because he was "obese" and didn't wear a seat belt, hiding assets to get a court-appointed attorney, trying to manipulate jurors by bringing her children to court, having a history of driving recklessly and while intoxicated, and doctor-shopping and pharmacy-shopping during her pregnancy.

"I bring this to the court's attention because it goes to the defendant's character," Newcombe said. "It shows the callous nature of the defendant and her lack of remorse."

She said Jorgensen didn't seem to care about her unborn child. "Some may say the defendant has suffered enough of a loss with the loss of her child," Newcombe said. "But she did nothing to put the child's needs before her own . . . There was never any concern for baby Ashley."

She asked for the maximum of 5 to 15 years in prison.

Defense attorney Martin Lorenzotti insisted his client felt horrible for causing the deaths of the Kellys. He argued it was an accident, not a crime, caused by a medical condition that led to her blacking out.

"I feel terrible every day," Jorgensen said tearfully, turning to face the Kelly family. "I am so sorry three people lost their lives. I mean that from the bottom of my heart."

Jorgensen has filed an appeal. Lorenzotti said he hopes to get her freed on bail while the appeal is pending.

Latest Long Island News