The attorney for a Bergen County man charged with killing one person and injuring another in a boating accident in West Milford will try to cite a statement of speed as a factor in the case, which could play a crucial role in the future of the judicial process.
Shawn J. Kelly, 44 at the time of his arrest in 2018, is charged with slamming his 20-foot Wellcraft into another boat, an 18-foot Bayliner, on the evening of September 5, 2016, killing Edwin Lane. came to life. Authorities said he did not stop after allegedly hitting the other boat.
Kelly, a former Paramus firefighter, was under investigation for two years before being charged, and he pleaded not guilty in February 2019 to second-degree charges of death by vessel and abandonment of the scene of a boating accident resulting in death. He is also charged with leaving the scene of a boating accident resulting in serious bodily harm and assault by a vessel.
Kelly’s attorney, Patrick Jennings, filed a suppression motion this summer to prevent anyone from testifying, including the victims and expert testimony, about how fast both boats were going at the time of the crash.
Jennings did not respond to calls and emails for comment. Deputy Assistant District Attorney Jason Statuto, who previously handled the case for Passaic County, did not respond to a request for comment.
The motion will be heard in a Passaic County Superior Court on Oct. 14.
Four people were in the Bayliner at the time of the crash: Edwin Lane, his wife Mary and Eileen and Robert Roon. Edwin Lane suffered a head injury and died a month after the accident. Robert Roon also had serious injuries, but survived.
After a hearing following Kelly’s arrest, Edwin Lane’s widow spoke to NorthJersey.com. She said that despite the 23-month waiting period, she could always have been confident that the investigators would bring someone to justice.
When asked what could be a just end to the case, she said the defendant should receive “some jail time.”
Kelly was the main suspect almost immediately after the start of the investigation. According to court documents, the Wellcraft was seen by a local marina operator with scratches to the hull, damage to the propeller and paint underwater. In addition, the boat was low in the water.
At the time of Kelly’s not guilty plea, there was a plea offer on the table — three years in prison for pleading guilty to the second-degree charges. Kelly’s former attorney had said a decision was premature because they weren’t even done with the discovery process yet.
This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: Boat Accident in Passaic County NJ: Judge May Determine Speed as Factor