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Coram Man Set To Face Trial in Fatal Hit-and-Run

After a Coram woman was struck jogging down Canal Road in Mt. Sinai in late June, later dying as a result of her injuries, a Coram man will now face the maximum sentence as it goes to trial.

A Suffolk judge revoked a plea deal Monday for Thomas Costa, 32, from Coram who was arrested after being charged in connection with the death of a jogger who was taken off life support three weeks after the accident.

Back in July, Costa was driving a 2001 BMW on June 23, when authorities said he was speeding and struck Karen Benjamin, a nurse’s assistant from Coram and mother of two. Costas fled the scene leaving Benjamin fatally wounded.

Now, almost six months later, the judge revoked a plea deal that would have put Costa in jail for no more than two to six years in prison after he pleaded guilty. According to Newsday, that didn’t fly with the State Supreme Court Justice Fernando Camacho.

“Costa lied to a probation officer about his criminal history, said he “kind of stopped” after the impact and yet declined knowing he’d hit Karen Benjamin…even though he admitted to that in court last month,” said the judge to Newsday. “I am not prepared to proceed with the promise I made,” Camacho told Costa. “There will be a trial.”

One of Benjamin’s daughters spoke to the newspaper and said she knows this will be a long journey having to sit in trial for weeks, but it will be worth it. “My mother would do the same thing. For our family, this is the best possible decision.”

The Assistant District Attorney Patricia Brosco said when this goes to trial she will be seeing the maximum sentence, which carries a penalty of anywhere between 5 to 15 years.

Danielsemperfi Krieger January 14, 2014 at 02:56 PM
He should have stopped and got her help. No excuse to leave the scene. It was an accident.
ARCH STANTON January 14, 2014 at 06:42 PM
THIS WAS NO ACCIDENT. AFTER COSTA LIED TO A PROBATION OFFICER ABOUT HIS CRIMINAL HISTORY WHICH INCLUDED DRUG POSSESSION AND BURGLARY CONVICTIONS ACCORDING TO THE ARTICLE IN TODAYS NEWSDAY, HE ALSO HID HIS VEHICLE IN THE REAR YARD OF HIS PARENTS HOUSE WHILE COVERING IT WITH A TARP. HE HAD ALREADY PLEAD GUILTY TO LEAVING THE SCENE OF THE ACCIDENT WITH PERSONAL INJURY INVOLVED AND WAS NO LONGER SATISFIED WHEN THE JUDGE REVOKED HIS PLEA DEAL. NOW HE WANTS A TRIAL. IF FOUND GUILTY I HOPE THAT HE RECEIVES THE MAXIMUM 5 TO 15 YEARS INSTEAD OF THE 2 TO 6 YEARS IN THE PLEA DEAL. WHEN A DRIVER LEAVES THE SCENE OF AN ACCIDENT, IT USUALLY HAS TO DO WITH ALCOHOL OR DRUGS. NO SOBRIETY OR DRUG TESTING CAN BE CONDUCTED DAYS AFTER THE APPREHENSION. HIS OWN LAWYER HAS STATED THAT "COSTA WILL BE CONVICTED AND THAT THE EVIDENCE IS OVER-WHELMING." THIS WAS NO ACCIDENT. KAREN BENJAMIN REST IN PEACE, THE POLICE GOT YOUR MAN.

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