NY teenager convicted in crash that killed 4 friends

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Joseph Beer

Joseph Beer during his court appearance Jan. 24, 2014.

MINEOLA, N.Y. (AP) — A New York City teenager has been convicted of four counts of manslaughter in the deaths of his friends in a high-speed car crash on a Long Island parkway.

A Nassau County jury returned a partial verdict Friday against Joseph Beer.

The jury deadlocked on the most serious count of aggravated vehicular manslaughter.

Besides manslaughter, the jury convicted the Queens teenager of reckless driving and reckless endangerment. He faces 5-15 years in prison on the manslaughter conviction.

Beer could have faced up to 25 years if he had been convicted of the vehicular homicide count.

Beer was the only survivor of a crash on the Southern State Parkway in October 2012. Police say he was traveling more than 100 mph.

Beer has admitted smoking marijuana prior to the crash.

A prosecutor told a jury at the closing arguments last week that the teen “tempted fate” by getting high on marijuana and driving more than 100 mph before the crash.

Prosecutors contended that Beer had smoked $20 worth of marijuana before speeding at over 100 mph, and was impaired when he crashed.

A Yale School of Medicine psychiatry professor testified that authorities’ drug tests on Beer were not an accurate measurement of his state since he was a chronic pot user.

The defense team maintained that it was speed — not pot — that led to the fatal crash.


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