WOBURN (CBS) — The man facing charges in a deadly crash into a Newton pizza restaurant will decide later this month if he wants to plead guilty or go to trial.
Bradford Casler is accused of plowing into Sweet Tomatoes in March 2016, killing 57-year-old Eleanor Miele and 32-year-old Gregory Morin. He’s charged with two counts of motor vehicle homicide and one count of operating a motor vehicle to endanger.
At a hearing Monday morning in Middlesex Superior Court, prosecutors recommended Casler spend five years in a house of correction. The judge set another hearing date of October 27 to hear arguments from both sides, give his own sentencing recommendation, and hear Casler’s plea decision.
Casler’s attorney, Tom Giblin, told WBZ-TV’s Anna Meiler he will push for a sentence that doesn’t include incarceration at that hearing.
“I still maintain this isn’t a man who deserves to go to jail, first of all, and secondly, who could handle the rigors of incarceration,” Giblin said.
Casler suffers from Multiple Sclerosis, a debilitating disease which Giblin says caused him to crash into the restaurant. He also argues his client shouldn’t go to prison because the level of care there would not allow him to survive even a brief incarceration stint.
Morin’s widow, Erika Morin, has said she believes Casler’s disease shouldn’t be a factor in deciding his guilt or innocence, because, she said, he knew the risks of the disease and got in the car that day anyway.
“We would just like this to be over as quickly as possible,” she said after Monday’s hearing. “My husband lost 50 plus years of his life, so we do not think that five years is an unreasonable amount for taking two lives and injuring several people.”
Casler has been weighing his plea decision depending on the judge’s sentencing recommendation, which could range from probation to prison time.
“He’s still thinking,” Giblin said. “He’s considering his options. A plea is what he’s always wanted to do to prevent any more pain and suffering.”
Giblin said Casler will most likely take a plea deal.
“Judge Pierce is going to take it all into consideration and decide what he thinks is appropriate, tell us what it is, and unless it’s something beyond the pale of what we think is reasonable, we will probably agree at that point to do a plea,” Giblin said.
Monday’s hearing followed one four weeks ago where the judge heard victim impact statements, and another two weeks ago that focused on the effects of MS as well as the quality and availability of care given to the disabled in prison.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens reports