Following his 2009 conviction being overturned in December, Anthony Oddone pleaded guilty Wednesday to killing Andrew Reister during an altercation at a Southampton bar in 2008, and he is now slated to be sentenced to time served plus post-release supervision.
With the conviction tossed out, Oddone was released on $500,000 bail, pending a new trial. However, the plea deal avoids a trial.
In exchange for his plea to first-degree manslaughter, Oddone, 31, is to be sentenced on March 19 to five years and four months—the amount of time he was imprisoned since his arrest—and five years of supervision. Oddone waived his right to appeal.
Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said that while his office is confident it could have earned another conviction, Reister’s family wanted to be spared the trauma of a second jury trial. Spota said the family’s wishes were the primary factor in the decision to accept Oddone’s plea.
Oddone was originally sentenced to 22 years in state prison, though the sentence was later reduced by five years. Then last year an appeals court decided that the trial judge erred when it barred the defense from reminding a witness about earlier statements she made about the length of a chokehold Oddone held Reister in. Defense witness Megan Flynn testified the chokehold “could have been a minute or so,” though she had previously stated to an insurance company investigator the duration was “maybe 6 to 10 seconds.”
According to the appeals court’s account of events, when Oddone refused to get down from the table, Reister pushed him off. Oddone then got behind Reister, put both arms around his neck and clasped his hands. Reister fell to the floor and Oddone fell on top of him, not releasing his grip, though onlookers said Reister appeared to be unconscious. “Several people screamed at defendant to let Reister go, and some tried without success to pull defendant away,” the court wrote. “Finally, defendant let go and ran out of the bar, leaving Reister unconscious on the floor.”