A Beverly police officer was convicted today of killing a woman when his cruiser smashed into her parked car, but he will not have to go to jail, Suffolk County prosecutors said.
Patrolman Stuart Merry was found guilty of negligent motor vehicle homicide by Peabody District Court Judge Matthew Nestor in connection with the 2007 accident that killed 61-year-old Bonney Burns.
The judge sentenced Merry to three years of supervised probation, 200 hours of community service, a $1,000 fine, and the loss of his driver's license for 15 years, said Suffolk district attorney's spokeswoman Erika Gully-Santiago.
Suffolk prosecutors handled the case instead of those in Essex County to avoid a conflict of interest.
The crash occurred shortly after 9 a.m. on Jan. 20, 2007, on Cabot Street in Beverly. Merry's cruiser accelerated as he drove south, crossing a set of yellow lines and heading into the northbound lane. It then struck Burns's parked 1988 Toyota Camry, where she was sitting.
Merry was convicted of negligent motor vehicle homicide in Peabody District Court in March 2008, but a judge later set aside the conviction because new evidence had been discovered.
The Supreme Judicial Court ordered a new trial earlier this year, rejecting Merry's argument that he should not be retried and that there was not enough evidence to establish that he was negligent.
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