NEW CITY – Jojo John, 36 of Nyack, pled guilty today of two counts of second-degree vehicular manslaughter for the boat crash deaths of bride-to-be Lindsey Stewart and her fiance’s best man Mark Lennon, concluding one of the most visible and emotionally-charged cases of the past year.
Initially, John pled not guilty to a slew of charges stemming from the July 26 crash, which killed Stewart and Lennon and left both him and Stewart’s fiance Brian Bond injured.
However, in exchange for the prosecutor’s recommendation the sentence run concurrent with prior penalties for probation violations, John recently entered a plea agreement. With the plea deal, he is expected to face no more than two years in prison, far less than the maximum 15 years he potentially faced for 18 separate counts.
Judge William Kelly, who presided over the case, stated he is likely to accept the recommended sentence. Sentencing is set for September 16.
Prosecutors were prepared to argue at trial that after John piloted a speed boat into a Tappan Zee Bridge construction barge in the Hudson River, his blood tested positive for alcohol and cocaine. According to them, John’s blood alcohol content was twice the legal limit.
Though John admitted to drinking before the crash, his attorney intended to argue the crash was caused by a lack of lighting on the barge. The U.S. Coast Guard maintains the lighting met federal standards.
In addition to the criminal case, John also faces civil penalties. Lawsuits brought by Stewart and Lennon’s families and those who were injured in the crash are also being brought against John.