"Is that all they think of John's life?"
That's what Tony Lupo said before he went to sleep on Wednesday night after he found out that the Suffolk County District Attorney's office will recommend a 2 to 6-year sentence for Edward Orr. On Wednesday, Orr admitted to the hit-and-run accident that took the life of John Judge, Lupo's best friend of 42 years.
Sitting at a table at Astro's Pizza in Amagansett, the family's restaurant, where a photo of Judge hangs on the wall, Lupo's wife Allison held back tears. "It feels like he's getting away with murder," she said.
Her son Gianfelice Lupo wrote a statement, in reaction to the deal Orr will likely receive for hitting Judge, 61, as he crossed Main Street in Amagansett after having dinner at the family's restaurant on Oct. 23. The 28-year-old, who spent a lot of time with Judge over the past 10 years, said the deal left him feeling angry. He wrote:
"The DA's recommendation for Mr. Orr's sentence is not only a slap in the face to the ones who loved and cared about John, but goes against the very law they try to uphold. It not only trivializes the tireless work and effort of the EHTPD but shows the true value at which they placed John's life. The recommendation sets a precedent that being a lying, manipulative, remorseless killer will only get you a slap on the wrist. The DA is not only going to have to live with the decision they made regarding the recommendation of Mr. Orr's sentence, but they are going to one day realize that they made a decision with the devil himself. My family and I have been living with this tragedy for five long months and this decision only pours salt on the wound. I would love to say that 'justice' has been served, but I'm finding it a little hard to get those words out of my mouth."
Orr pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in a death, a class D felony punishable up to 7 years in prison, and tampering with physical evidence, a class E felony punishable by up to 4 years. A misdemeanor criminal mischief charge related to the accident to his Jeep, was dismissed in satisfaction of his plea.
The East Hampton Town Police Department brought Orr in for questioning after a three-and-a-half month long investigation. There were no witnesses, but even Ryan's attorney admitted the department built overwhelming evidence against his client. Orr also signed a five-page confession when he was arrested on Feb. 7.
"Why did they even offer a plea bargain?," Lupo said.
The family had hoped given Orr's criminal history and the evidence against him that he would serve 10 to 15 years for all the charges.
Orr also pleaded guilty on Wednesday to a violation of his probation, which he was serving on a previous conviction at the time of the accident. Orr has been in and out of trouble over the past decade, arrested on driving while intoxicated, domestic violence, and grand larceny charges.
"This is where the justice system fails people," Lupo said. "The reality of 2 to 6 years is more like 1 to 3 years," she said. "He's 30 now — he'll get out and be what, 33? He's got his whole life ahead of him."
Correction: A class E felony is punishable by up to 4 years, not 5 years as previously reported.