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Aug 19, 2008 1:36 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

TWO COUNTS OF MURDER AGAINST ACCUSED IN TAVERN ATTACK

Aug 19, 2008 1:36 PM

In arguing for remand without bail, Ms. Merrifield also pointed out that Mr. Oddone fled the scene of the attack in a cab and when police stopped the cab minutes later, Mr. Oddone initially denied involvement in any altercation.

She also said that Mr. Oddone once fled Cobleskill when he was on probation in Schoharie County, New York. District attorney’s office spokesman Robert Clifford said that Mr. Oddone was sentenced to three years probation in August 2004 for a crime committed in October 2003. He pleaded to petit larceny, after Cobleskill Village Police arrested him in February 2004, Mr. Clifford said. He did not know what the charge was for.

Mr. La Pinta maintained that Mr. Oddone is not a flight risk, pointing out that he has worked in the region for three years. “He has nothing short of a stellar job record with his employers,” he said, and added that family and friends were supporting him emotionally and financially.

Mr. Oddone is a current student at St. Joseph’s College, studying business, and reportedly has a 3.5 grade point average in the school’s honors program. He also attended the State University of New York at Cobleskill between 2003 and 2005, before moving on to Suffolk County Community College and eventually St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue.

The two sides will be back in court Friday to continue paperwork in connection with the case, and for prosecutors to answer an “order to show cause” and address the merits of the indictment. A conference date was also set for September 25.

Southampton Village Police Chief William Wilson has said that he does not know how Mr. Oddone came to the Publick House that night, but he knows Mr. Oddone fled the scene in a taxicab that was later stopped on North Sea Road minutes after police were called to the scene of the attack.

Chief Wilson also said he did not know how many people were on staff at the Publick House the night of the attack. That Wednesday was Ladies’ Night, a popular night for the microbrewery among younger people. Ladies Night has been indefinitely discontinued following the assault.

It is still unclear if alcohol or drugs played a role in the attack. Chief Wilson said that, to his knowledge, no blood alcohol content or drug tests were administered to Mr. Oddone, but he said it would not make a difference. “There’s no reason to test anybody in that nature of a case, because intoxication is not a type of defense,” he said. The chief said that he has investigated many assaults in his 23 years as a police officer, and could not recall any of those suspects being tested for drugs or alcohol.

Later, he added, “It’s a tragedy that Mr. Reister passed away because of somebody else’s actions. It doesn’t matter to us if somebody was impaired or not.”

“I would never be able to get a judge to give me a warrant to take his blood under circumstances like that,” said Suffolk County Homicide Squad Detective Lieutenant Jack Fitzpatrick, whose squad had been investigating the case.

Chief Wilson said that though there have been a few DWI-related traffic deaths in the village in the past couple of decades, and there have been some serious assaults, the Publick House attack was the first time in 20 years that someone had been attacked and killed in the village.

Several dozen people reportedly saw the attack, but none have come forward on the record to any other news outlet. Police officials said they were not surprised that witnesses have kept quiet. “This prosecution is just at the beginning stages, and it would be extremely improper for anyone who was involved in the investigation … to comment to the media,” the chief said.

Det. Lt. Fitzpatrick said that while witnesses are advised they might end up testifying to a grand jury, “we can’t stop anybody from speaking.”

A Suffolk County district attorney’s office spokesman explained that all felony charges in the county go before a grand jury for an indictment, unless the accused person pleads guilty and waives that right.

Det. Lt. Fitzpatrick said that grand jury proceedings guarantee that people accused of a crime such as Mr. Oddone are granted their due process rights.

Before his arrest, Mr. Oddone worked as a caddy at the exclusive Bridge golf club, where he was well liked among his fellow caddies and members, according to Robert Rubin, the principal owner of The Bridge. Mr. Rubin said Mr. Oddone had even caddied for him a couple times. “He was a nice kid and a good caddy,” he said.

“Informally, people are asking what they can do to help and whether they can contribute money to Anthony’s defense,” Mr. Rubin said. The spontaneous gestures became pretty widespread, and the club has been referring members who ask to Mr. Oddone’s lawyer, he said.

Mr. Oddone lives in Farmingville with his girlfriend and her parents. This week, no one answered the phone on several occasions, and an answering machine was disconnected.

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I can't begin to fathom how members of The Bridge think that they are doing a good thing by taking up a collection for Oddone's defense. Multiple people saw him choke a man to unconsciousness. It's not like there is some question as to his guilt or innocence!
I know a number of bouncers out here, all of whom are decent people, some of whom have families, and I know that (until this happened) the last thing from their minds was that they might not make it back home.
It's just awful.
By SM Bonac (1), East Hampton on Aug 25, 08 11:05 AM
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