Dupon pleads guilty in Hall vehicular death

Judge Barnes rejects softer plea agreement, gives Dupon maximum sentence.

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Zachary Dupon, 26, pleaded guilty to motor vehicle homicide by reckless operation in Edgartown District Court Friday. Judge Benjamin Barnes, after hearing emotional victim impact statements read on behalf of Emma Hall’s family and friends, rejected a plea deal worked out between the prosecution and the defense that would have afforded Dupon lighter punishment and instead sentenced him to 2½ years, the maximum penalty, with two of those years to be served in jail and the balance of the sentence (six months) to be suspended for a two year probation period. Dupon will also lose his driver’s license for 15 years.

Dupon’s plea stems from a Dec. 19, 2020, collision on Beach Road in Tisbury that killed 22-year-old Emma Hall. Hall was operating a Volkswagen Beetle when Dupon’s SUV smashed into her head-on at a speed Cape and Islands Assistant District Attorney Matt Palazzolo previously said was about 60 to 70 miles per hour. Hall was pronounced dead at the scene. Two passengers in her Volkswagen, her friends Molly and Monica Carroll, were injured and taken to Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. Monica Carroll was subsequently airlifted to a Boston hospital. 

“No sentence that Your Honor can impose can change the tragedy that happened that night,” Palazzolo told the court. “I can’t put into words how this has affected the people involved in this case. Emma was a beloved member of the community.”

“This is a matter in which the tragedy cannot be overstated,” Rachel Self, Dupon’s attorney, told the court. “And the losses cannot be overstated. This has been devastating for obviously, absolutely, the families in this case, and it has devastated the entire community, and also devastated Mr. Dupon and his family. He had been wanting to accept his responsibility and role in this matter for quite some time, because he recognizes how important it is to accept his responsibility and not insist on exercising all of the rights afforded to him under the Constitution and take this case to trial. He wants to take responsibility for this.”

After his sentence was read off, Dupon was taken into custody by Court Officer John Hanavan, and waist-chained. As part of his guilty plea, Dupon also pleaded guilty to speeding and a marked lanes violation.

The victim impact statements that swayed Judge Barnes were written with the idea that Dupon was going to be given a lighter sentence. All of them took issue with giving any leniency toward the defendant.

Emma Hall’s parents, Peter and Helen Hall, declined to be in the courtroom. Michael Carroll read a victim impact statement on their behalf. The statement illustrated how painful the loss of their daughter was, and how deeply they were against a light sentence for Dupon. 

“There are no words that can adequately describe the devastation and heartache when your child is killed,” Carroll told the court on behalf of the Halls. “We made it clear we didn’t want a plea deal, yet here we are. As a family, we have made the decision not to be physically in a courtroom to listen to a sentence we do not agree with or support. We believe the severity of the crime warrants significant time in jail, not months.” 

The parents’ statement described how their daughter was robbed, even in her death, of fulfilling a wish: “We did not choose an autopsy. The state chose it for us, and took Emma’s body. Emma’s wishes were to be an organ donor, which was not fulfilled as a result.”

The parents’ statement also described how the legal case has made it difficult for them to celebrate their daughter’s life. “What we have learned is, If Emma’s killer does not wish to go to trial, that’s his choice, and all evidence that demonstrates Mr. Dupon willingly killed Emma is not presented to a jury,” they said through Carroll. “Zachary Dupon committed murder, and with this plea, which he agreed to, he is getting away with murder. And where is the justice for Emma? … Justice died the night Zachary Dupon killed our daughter.”

Carroll also read a statement on behalf of Emma’s godmother and aunt: “The loss of Emma Hall has reverberated through the community, but the loss to our family is significant. Emma was not only a beloved honorary member of our family, my goddaughter, and like a cousin to my children, but also a trusted caregiver to my son.”

The godmother’s statement described Emma’s relationship with her son, who has a disability. Emma Hall became his nanny, and learned how to provide his complex care, including giving him injections: “Since the death of our dear Emma, the loss of which my 12-year-old son is still reeling. We have felt her loss in significant ways.”

Emma was her son’s babysitter and best friend: “We are still processing this crushing loss of this strong, fine, especially kind, focused, brilliant girl who was an enormous part of our life.

The loss in our community has forever changed us. There will always be something missing, something that makes us ache terribly. The death of someone you love is always difficult, but the sudden, tragic loss of a young, vibrant life — the one Emma lived — causes the most unbearable, unending pain.

“Mr. Dupon’s reckless disregard, and his selfish, thoughtless behavior, has shattered the family and the community. There needs to be a strong degree of accountability and time served for gross negligence and carelessness.”

Lorraine Murphy read a statement on behalf of Emma’s sister, Sarah Hall: “Zachary Dupon’s actions have left a gaping hole, not only for my family, but life. My life will never be the same. The pain runs so deeply that I could not be present for today. Every moment of every day is swallowed up by the immense loss of my little sister Em. The trauma of Dec. 19, 2020, will never leave me. It will be part of my world for the rest of my life,” Murphy said, reading the statement. “I have lost my sister, my best friend, and my future children have lost their aunt. The world has lost the most beautiful life that radiated with love and strength. I hope that Zachary Dupon’s actions haunt him in every moment of every day of his life. And he experiences the pain that we will all live with. I am disappointed with the outcome of this case, but at the end of the day nothing will ever be a punishment for Zachary Dupon for recklessly taking the life of our beautiful Emma on Dec. 19, 2020, at the age of 22.”

 

19 COMMENTS

  1. 2.5 years for recklessly killing a young woman. If this is justice I dont know what injustice is. This is a slap on the wrist. This is absolute craziness. Please have smeone defend this light sentence.

    • Even if Dupon went to trial and one of twelve did not buy the prosecutor’s story line Dupon’s actions will stay with him for ever.
      My brother in law was T boned by a red light runner.
      He was initially charged with vehicular homicide.
      Of one of his best friends.
      The cops thought he should have slammed on his brakes and T boned the red light runner.
      The impact would have been very unlikely to kill anyone in his car.
      The red light runner, she would have got what she deserved.
      Death resulting accidents stay with people forever.
      .
      Knowing that you could go to jail keeps some people from drinking and driving.
      The difference between two and twenty years is not a significant factor.
      The cost is significant.
      To what purpose?

  2. I feel the pain the Hall family is going through. I lost my wife shortly before Emma’s lost hers. I’m also sorry Dupon’s trial did not go before a jury. My personal opinion, he should receive 25 to life at Cedar Junction. His punishment is a drop in the bucket for the crime he has committed. I am so sorry, and sadden, for the Hall family.

    • Is it important to you that he be held in place with good chances that my he may encounter beatings and even rape?
      Will a 25 to life sentence, over 2 years, deter others from committing vehicular homicide?

      ” I’m also sorry Dupon’s trial did not go before a jury.”
      And if one of of twelve did not buy the prosecution story?
      And Dupon walked?
      Justice has been served, just not as big a serving as you may have had in mind.

      If Dupon were your son would think two years was enough, for pleading guilty.

  3. Very sad. Dupon is a wonderful family, and it was a tragic accident. Our hearts go out to both families.

  4. How is the sentence given to this, or any defendant charged with taking the life of another, justifiable ? Not merely under any state law, but justifiable to the innocent victim and the community that knew her? They can never be the same, but in 2 years, he will resume his life. The jury is restricted from sentencing. I applaud this judge not only for rejecting the plea bargain, and imposing a consequence limited to by the law, but for the wisdom shown by his including the loss of the defendant’s right to drive for 15 years. It’s the first time I have heard this included after the jail and probation phase. How simple a consequence directly related to the crime, instead of a punishment to be kept in confinement with hardened criminals of other crimes. If an improved, ideal prison system could be set up, those incarcerated for a similar nature could be housed, educated and be educated to gain responsible employment to work with drunk drivers., to decrease such incidents. In my 66 year old naivety, consequences should be proportionate to the severity of the offense. I would oppose incarcerating defendant for many years, but to use his prison time for good, to do good for victims, could ease his guilt that not court can excuse. I speak for multitudes who cannot fathom the insult and cruelty imposed on the victims families by plea deals and light sentences given intoxicated drivers. A person who commits a driving offense will drive again, and is more likely to drink again. How would this behavior cease, even not increase, in light of a past offense? It will haunt him and pained souls resort to relieving pain, often by drinking again. This person says he was willing to take responsibility – let him. Make him do something of other victim’s families. May God grant the family easing of heartbreak and the joy of having had their Emma for the time they did. It was all they were given, make it count.

  5. This is what you get through failed pervasive liberal progressive policies. Liberal judges who fail to mete out just punishment! How is two years the maximum penalty? More concern for the criminal than the victim! I lost a sibling to a drunk driver 30 years ago and the result was the same; very little time served. No justice in Massachusetts!

  6. I did not know Emma, but wish I did. I do know the Carroll family. The fact that the Dupon family is nice does not mean a thing in this case. No license for life, 20 year minimum sentence maybe parole after 15 but only if the family feels that it is just. Myself I have always felt you take a life you do life. Justice, there is no such thing anymore.

  7. Look at all of you sharks. Circling for blood. Completely granted, this guy sucks, but sending him to prison for a million years isn’t going to bring anybody back from the dead.

  8. I would not call a this person a murderer, he didn’t gun her down on the street, it was a reckless accident. Why would you send this guy to jail for life, for an accident? Where is the humanity? I agree with Alexis, you all are circling like sharks.

    Do you think if Emma had survived but one of her passengers had died, do you think she would have wanted this guy to go to jail forever? I mean you all say how great she was, a wonderful person (I’m sure she was), think about that.

  9. Dupon’s admission of guilt means nothing. Justice was not served for Emma and her family. His minimal jail time will allow this reckless individual his freedom to present a significant risk of harm to the community very soon. What actions will he take to rehabilitate himself, to prove his remorse his true and to repay foe the damage he inflicted?

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