N.Y. Appellate court overturns conviction of Ann Marie Drago
A New York appellate court has overturned the murder conviction of Ann Marie Drago, a Patchogue woman who ran over anti-gang activist Evelyn Rodriguez in 2018. Drago was sentenced to nine months for negligent homicide after a confrontation with Rodriguez.
Rodriguez and several others were attending a memorial at a vigil set up outside Drago’s home for Rodriguez's 16-year-old daughter, Kayla Cuevas, who federal prosecutors believe was killed by MS-13.
Drago’s jail sentence was stayed while she pursued her appeal.
In their decision, a four-judge panel unanimously agreed that the prosecutor's closing argument “mischaracterized the evidence” and “confused the jury by repeatedly using language” suggesting Drago intentionally killed Rodriguez.
The court ordered a new trial and cited Assistant District Attorney Maggie Bopp for misconduct by “inflaming the jury’s emotions”.
In a statement, Suffolk District Attorney Ray Tierney faulted former District Attorney Tim Sini and the assistant district attorneys who oversaw the trial. He said none of them are still on staff.