WOBURN, MA (WHDH) - A Newton man charged in a crash that left two people dead inside Sweet Tomatoes pizza shop in 2016 is hoping to avoid jail time.
Appearing Monday in Woburn’s Middlesex Superior Court for what was expected to be a change of plea, instead turned into a day of delays. Bradford Casler’s lawyer stated that his client would not be changing his plea, but did inquire as to what punishment a guilty plea would carry.
Lawyer Tom Giblin told the judge that his client would plead guilty if it meant avoiding the horror of a trial and time served behind bars.
“He doesn’t want to go to trial because he doesn’t want to put people through that,” Giblin said. “It would be very painful to everybody involved.”
On March 1, 2016, Casler was driving down Washington Street when authorities say he crashed his SUV through the front of the restaurant. The crash killed 32-year-old Gregory Morin, of Newton, and 57-year-old Eleanor Miele, of Watertown. Seven other people were seriously injured.
Giblin has maintained that the crash was caused by MS, which the 56-year-old Casler suffers from. Giblin also said Casler was remorseful for the crash.
“He suffered throughout this ordeal more than anybody knows. He’s been living in a mental prison, where 24 hours a day he suffers thinking about what happened that night,” Giblin said.
The prosecution countered by arguing that Casler has neither apologized for the crash or accepted responsibility for his actions. They are seeking a five-year sentence.
“What I did not hear was any acceptance of responsibility for his actions in this case, which caused the death of two people,” Prosecutor Chris Tarrant said.
Giblin requested that Casler be sentenced to house arrest, community service, and a lifetime license suspension in exchange for no time in jail.
“We want this to be over,” Erica Morin said. “If he is not going to take it to trial, he needs to plead guilty and he needs to let us move on with this portion of our lives.”
Casler is charged with two counts of motor vehicle homicide. He was also charged with one count of operating a motor vehicle to endanger.
A judge is expected to fashion a sentence by Friday. A change of plea hearing is slated for December.
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