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Attorney: Teen Charged in High Speed DUI Case Intends to Go to Trial

Connor McNicholas waived his preliminary hearing Monday and will be formally arraigned on Dec. 14.

The families, friends – and even the prosecutor seeking justice – came to Hatboro’s district court Monday afternoon ready to hear details of the evening that would claim the lives of 2010 graduates and .

But, the 20-year-old friend of Coombs and Nagel, following the in Horsham, signed a waiver eliminating the need for a preliminary hearing. 

Prosecutor Tony Forray, senior deputy attorney general, said Monday’s waiver simply meant that McNicholas chose “not to contest the charges.”

McNicholas’ attorney, Peter Scuderi, said afterward, “We don’t want to put all the families through what happened that day.”

“It was a tragedy,” Scuderi said. “And we don’t want to relive it.”

McNicholas, sporting a yellow “Livestrong” bracelet, khaki pants and a dark blazer Monday, looked virtually the same as he did the day of his Aug. 17 arraignment, with one exception: He did not arrive or depart court in handcuffs as he had during his first court appearance, prior to posting $500,000 bail.

The parents and sister of Edward Coombs were in attendance Monday, as was Robert Nagel’s mother and brother. 

Coombs’ father, Eric, a member of the Hatboro-Horsham School board, declined comment following the brief court session. “I’m just going to let the system run its course,” he told Patch.

If convicted of the two homicide by vehicle charges, McNicholas faces a mandatory six years behind bars. The Horsham teen, a fellow 2010 Hatboro-Horsham grad, also faces related to the crash.

While meeting informally with the victims’ families Monday, Forray said McNicholas took actions that led to “terribly tragic results.”

“No good is going to come out of this case,” Forray said, noting the loss of two lives.

During his arraignment in August, McNicholas entered a not guilty plea. On Monday, Scuderi said McNicholas intended to continue with that plea, which would mean the case would likely go to trial. 

When asked what the difference would be with having a preliminary hearing that would essentially reopen painful wounds versus a trial that could do the same thing, Scuderi told Patch that he recognized that the victims' loved ones were going through the "healing process right now" and that depending on the "nature of the testimony" a trial may not be as difficult, from an emotional standpoint.

Scuderi said McNicholas has resumed his studies at Temple University and is “trying to go on with his life.”

NoSanta November 03, 2011 at 06:28 PM
It's not a mistake. He made a horrible choice and should have know better. Jail is meant to punish the guilty. And if jail time won't deter the next kid, what will?
just a Granny November 07, 2011 at 09:25 PM
"What will deter the next kid?" Are parents punishing their teens when they find out they have been drinking or do they just look the other way. Too many kids nowadays are not held accountable for their actions. Parents do the homework, pay for the lattes, manicures, cars, etc instead of making the teen work. Parents drink to excess at teen graduation parties and even walk along with a beer or two on Halloween with their little ones. Kids learn from example. Ground them if they come home "high", make them take the bus to school. I don't know Connor's parents so can't judge how they raised their son. I am just saying that most parents today want to be friends with their child instead of a disciplinarian.
HarleyGirl04 November 14, 2011 at 09:55 PM
Let me say this....I know personally I as a parent have pounded in all my sons heads that drinking and driving is unacceptable, and their comes a price along with it. I did not allow them to get a driver licence until they had a job and were able to HELP pay for insurance and maintenance on their vehicle. I have one who is 18 and I KNOW he smokes pot and he is forbidden to obtain a drivers licence while living under my roof as long as I he smoke pot.....HOWEVER ALL kids make mistakes and it's not always due to a lack of parenting...We can pound in their heads all we want...but we can ONLY HOPE they were listening. Do I think this young man should face some form of charges...YES....However I do believe that he is going to be mentally punished for the rest of his life.
Christine Harrison November 23, 2011 at 09:56 PM
i think everyone involved need to be punished. i do understnd they will have to live this there whole life, but that is not punishment enough. i also am a mom of 3 sons ranging from 10 to 21. i never think drinking or doing drugs is ok. they should know there will be big trouble if they come home like that. i can not believe that u haley is making like it is ok ur son smokes pot. big deal he cant drive. he is 18 tell him to get out. i get the fact ur scared something might happen, but something can happen no matter what. when my 21 yr old was 16 he tried drinking and pot well he has big trouble. i took everything from him. i made him take unexpected drug tests. i told him if i ever caught it in his body i will send him off to a rehab. if u enable ur child he will evenually take other drugs if he is not already and become addicted. please dont allow it. we are there parents 1st. u can make friends with them later in life.
HarleyGirl04 November 26, 2011 at 06:51 PM
Christine....Let me give you a quick lesson on Rehab...Once your child reaches the young age of 14...You CAN'T force them into drug rehab and a drug counselor is under NO obligation to tell you what your 14 year old told them...Isn't that nice ? You're responsible for this person until they are 18 but YET you can't force them into get help and don't have a right to know what they tell the people that are there to help. I would personally pay to meet the idiot Judge that put that into affect. I personally am not at the point where I could live with myself for putting him on the street and until you're in that position don't say you could either. I always thought it would be easy as well until I have been faced with the situation. I don't condone it and yes I still pull piss tests on him and no I'm not his friend...I'm his mother !

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