Volodymyr Zhukovskyy trial: Not guilty verdict

ALL 15 COUNTS… AFTER THE DEVASTATING CRASH… THAT KILLED 7 MOTORCYCLISTS IN 2019. 26-YEAR-OLD VOLODYMYR ZHUKOVSKYY FULL OF EMOTION… POINTING TO THE SKY… AND BREAKING DOWN… AS HIS NOT- GUILTY VERDICTS COME IN. YOU CAN SEE IT’S A DECISION MANY IN THE COURTHOUSE WERE DEVESTATED BY. THE PROSECUTION ALSO DISHEARTENED… SAYING THEY LITIGATED HARD… BUT DIDN’T GET THE RULINGS THEY WANTED. <00:51 "RIGHT NOW IS PROBABLY NOT THE TIME TO TRY TO READ TEA LEAVES AND TRY TO FIGURE OUT EXACTLY WHAT THE JURY THOUGHT." 01:00> THE DEFENSE TEAM AND ZHUKOVSKYY’S FAMILY DECLINING TO COMMENT ON THE ACQUITTALS… AS DID MEMBERS OF THE JARHEADS MOTORCYCLE CLUB. ZHUKOVSKYY LEAVING THE COURT HOUSE IN A COOS COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT VEHICLE. THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS SAYS THE UKRAINIAN NATIVE WAS SERVED AN IMMIGRATION DETAINER ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY TUESDAY. TONIGHT… ZHUKOVSKYY IS BEING HELD AT THE GRAFTON COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION

Volodymyr Zhukovskyy found not guilty in crash that killed 7 motorcyclists in Randolph

Zhukovskyy faced negligent homicide, manslaughter charges

Updated: 11:33 PM EDT Aug 9, 2022

A truck driver has been found not guilty of manslaughter or negligent homicide in connection with the deaths of seven motorcyclists in a 2019 crash in Randolph.It took the jury about two hours to reach a verdict on the 15 charges Volodymyr Zhukovskyy faced.Zhukovskyy faced seven counts of manslaughter and seven counts of negligent homicide, in addition to a charge of reckless conduct. He was found not guilty on all charges.>> Watch video from the courtroom as verdicts are readAs the verdicts were read, Zhukovskyy gasped, looked upwards several times, kissed his hand and pointed up before taking off his glasses and crying into his hand.Several family members and friends of the victims were in tears as they left the courtroom.Jurors received the case shortly before noon Tuesday, and the verdict was read at about 2:40 p.m. >> Timeline: Zhukovskyy’s driving history; see how case has evolvedThe judge previously dismissed charges of manslaughter and negligent homicide that alleged Zhukovskyy was impaired at the time of the crash. The remaining charges related to accusations that Zhukovskyy was acting recklessly at the time of the crash.Zhukovskyy has been in jail for the past three years as the case moved through the court system. He left the courthouse in a sheriff’s department truck and was taken back to the jail for the night. >> Analyst: Jurors likely focused on narrow issueIt’s unclear when Zhukovskyy might be released. Corrections officials said Zhukovskyy was served an immigration detainer issued by the Department of Homeland Security and will be held on the detainer for DHS.In a written statement, Gov. Chris Sununu called the verdict a tragedy.”The fallen seven did not receive justice today, and that is an absolute tragedy,” Sununu said. “I share in the shock, outrage and anger that so many have expressed in the three years since the seven members of the Jarheads Motorcycle Club were taken from us. My heart goes out to their families, friends and loved ones on this especially dark day.”Attorney General John Formella said in a written statement that he believes prosecutors proved their case.”Our hearts go out to the victims and their families,” he said. “Our trial team did an excellent job, and we firmly believe that the state proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt. Mr. Zhukovskyy should have been found guilty of the charges in this case and held responsible for causing seven deaths and numerous injuries. We thank the court and the jurors for their service, and while we are extremely disappointed, we respect the verdict and our system of justice.”A group of criminal defense lawyers is criticizing Gov. Sununu and attorney general for their responses to the verdict. In a statement, the New Hampshire Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers said, “These statements are irresponsible, dangerous, disrespectful to the jurors and damaging to the integrity of the criminal legal system. They are also contrary to rules designed to protect the rights of the accused and protect jurors from undue influence and harassment.”>> Full statement: New Hampshire Association of Criminal Defense LawyersIn response, the AG’s office tells News 9, “We would point the NHACDL to the part of our statement in which we thanked the jurors for their service and stated that we respected the verdict.” A spokesperson for Gov. Sununu said “the governor stands by his statement.”Massachusetts officials confirmed that Zhukovskyy’s commercial driver’s license is disqualified, and his passenger license is suspended. CLOSING ARGUMENTSBefore closing arguments were delivered Tuesday morning, and out of the presence of the jury, the defense moved to dismiss the charges or have the judge order a verdict of not guilty, arguing that the state hadn’t proven the case beyond a reasonable doubt. That motion was denied.Defense attorney Jay Duguay began his closing argument by placing the blame for the accident squarely on the lead motorcyclist for the Jarheads Motorcycle Club, Al Mazza, who was killed in the crash. Duguay said Mazza was drunk and drifted over the center line and into the path of Zhukovskyy’s truck.The defense attempted to discredit witness testimony, especially from the Jarheads, pointing out inconsistencies in their testimony, including how much people had been drinking that day.”From the beginning of this investigation, the state had made up their mind about what had happened, evidence be damned,” Duguay said. “They came to erroneous conclusions about how the accident occurred within 24 hours of the accident and didn’t even pretend to conduct an actual investigation.”Prosecutors said it was clear who caused the crash, saying Zhukovskyy’s fault was corroborated by the testimony of eyewitnesses and the words of the defendant in an interview. “In his own words, (he said) that he crossed the line, just a little bit — he made sure to qualify, ‘just a little bit’ — and then he hit those motorcycles that were right there,” said Assistant Attorney General Scott Chase. “You’ll have that interview. Go through it again.”Trial videos:Verdicts read in courtroom Judge gives final instructions to jury before deliberations beginClosings: Jury instructions | Defense | ProsecutionJudge rejects final defense motion to dismiss Day 10 of testimony: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4Day 9 of testimony: 2 troopers testify | Hearing over instructionsDay 8 of testimony: Defense begins caseDay 7 of testimony: Part 1 | Part 2 | Defense motions to dismiss | Judge dismisses some chargesDay 6 of testimony: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 (WARNING: Language used during the Day 6 proceedings contains expletives. Viewer discretion is advised)Day 5 of testimony: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4Day 4 of testimony: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6Day 3 of testimony: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4Day 2 of testimony: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4Day 1 of testimony: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3Opening statements: Prosecution | DefenseJury view instructions: Judge speaks to jurors; both sides give statementsZhukovskyy was facing charges including negligent homicide, manslaughter and reckless conduct in connection with the crash that resulted in the deaths of seven members of the Jarheads Motorcycle Club:Michael Ferazzi, 62, of ContoocookAlbert Mazza, 59, of LeeDesma Oakes, 42, of ConcordAaron Perry, 45, of FarmingtonDaniel Pereira, 58, of Riverside, Rhode IslandJo-Ann and Edward Corr, both 58, of Lakeville, MassachusettsPrevious trial coverage:Day 10: Defense rests in trial of man charged in Randolph motorcycle crash Day 9: Pair of defense witnesses testify at Randolph motorcycle crash trial Day 8: Defense begins case in Randolph motorcycle crash trial Day 7: Judge dismisses 8 charges against Zhukovskyy; 15 charges remain Day 6: Video of police interview with defendant played at Randolph motorcycle crash trial Day 5: Toxicology expert testifies as Randolph motorcycle crash trial continues for second week Day 4: Police interview with man accused of causing crash that killed 7 played in court Day 3: First responders testify about suspect’s behavior after Randolph crash that killed 7 Day 2: Witnesses testify about crash that killed 7 motorcyclists on second day of trial Day 1: Witnesses describe scene of crash that killed 7 motorcyclists as trial begins Jury view: Volodymyr Zhukovskyy trial jurors receive instructions, view crash scene

A truck driver has been found not guilty of manslaughter or negligent homicide in connection with the deaths of seven motorcyclists in a 2019 crash in Randolph.

It took the jury about two hours to reach a verdict on the 15 charges Volodymyr Zhukovskyy faced.

Zhukovskyy faced seven counts of manslaughter and seven counts of negligent homicide, in addition to a charge of reckless conduct. He was found not guilty on all charges.

>> Watch video from the courtroom as verdicts are read

As the verdicts were read, Zhukovskyy gasped, looked upwards several times, kissed his hand and pointed up before taking off his glasses and crying into his hand.

Several family members and friends of the victims were in tears as they left the courtroom.

Jurors received the case shortly before noon Tuesday, and the verdict was read at about 2:40 p.m.

>> Timeline: Zhukovskyy’s driving history; see how case has evolved

The judge previously dismissed charges of manslaughter and negligent homicide that alleged Zhukovskyy was impaired at the time of the crash. The remaining charges related to accusations that Zhukovskyy was acting recklessly at the time of the crash.

Zhukovskyy has been in jail for the past three years as the case moved through the court system. He left the courthouse in a sheriff’s department truck and was taken back to the jail for the night.

>> Analyst: Jurors likely focused on narrow issue

It’s unclear when Zhukovskyy might be released. Corrections officials said Zhukovskyy was served an immigration detainer issued by the Department of Homeland Security and will be held on the detainer for DHS.

In a written statement, Gov. Chris Sununu called the verdict a tragedy.

“The fallen seven did not receive justice today, and that is an absolute tragedy,” Sununu said. “I share in the shock, outrage and anger that so many have expressed in the three years since the seven members of the Jarheads Motorcycle Club were taken from us. My heart goes out to their families, friends and loved ones on this especially dark day.”

Attorney General John Formella said in a written statement that he believes prosecutors proved their case.

“Our hearts go out to the victims and their families,” he said. “Our trial team did an excellent job, and we firmly believe that the state proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt. Mr. Zhukovskyy should have been found guilty of the charges in this case and held responsible for causing seven deaths and numerous injuries. We thank the court and the jurors for their service, and while we are extremely disappointed, we respect the verdict and our system of justice.”

A group of criminal defense lawyers is criticizing Gov. Sununu and attorney general for their responses to the verdict.

In a statement, the New Hampshire Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers said, “These statements are irresponsible, dangerous, disrespectful to the jurors and damaging to the integrity of the criminal legal system. They are also contrary to rules designed to protect the rights of the accused and protect jurors from undue influence and harassment.”

>> Full statement: New Hampshire Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

In response, the AG’s office tells News 9, “We would point the NHACDL to the part of our statement in which we thanked the jurors for their service and stated that we respected the verdict.”

A spokesperson for Gov. Sununu said “the governor stands by his statement.”

Massachusetts officials confirmed that Zhukovskyy’s commercial driver’s license is disqualified, and his passenger license is suspended.

CLOSING ARGUMENTS

Before closing arguments were delivered Tuesday morning, and out of the presence of the jury, the defense moved to dismiss the charges or have the judge order a verdict of not guilty, arguing that the state hadn’t proven the case beyond a reasonable doubt. That motion was denied.

Defense attorney Jay Duguay began his closing argument by placing the blame for the accident squarely on the lead motorcyclist for the Jarheads Motorcycle Club, Al Mazza, who was killed in the crash. Duguay said Mazza was drunk and drifted over the center line and into the path of Zhukovskyy’s truck.

The defense attempted to discredit witness testimony, especially from the Jarheads, pointing out inconsistencies in their testimony, including how much people had been drinking that day.

“From the beginning of this investigation, the state had made up their mind about what had happened, evidence be damned,” Duguay said. “They came to erroneous conclusions about how the accident occurred within 24 hours of the accident and didn’t even pretend to conduct an actual investigation.”

Prosecutors said it was clear who caused the crash, saying Zhukovskyy’s fault was corroborated by the testimony of eyewitnesses and the words of the defendant in an interview.

“In his own words, (he said) that he crossed the line, just a little bit — he made sure to qualify, ‘just a little bit’ — and then he hit those motorcycles that were right there,” said Assistant Attorney General Scott Chase. “You’ll have that interview. Go through it again.”

Trial videos:

Zhukovskyy was facing charges including negligent homicide, manslaughter and reckless conduct in connection with the crash that resulted in the deaths of seven members of the Jarheads Motorcycle Club:

7 people were killed in a crash on Route 2 in Randolph

Michael Ferazzi, 62, of ContoocookAlbert Mazza, 59, of LeeDesma Oakes, 42, of ConcordAaron Perry, 45, of FarmingtonDaniel Pereira, 58, of Riverside, Rhode IslandJo-Ann and Edward Corr, both 58, of Lakeville, Massachusetts

Previous trial coverage:

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