SCHOHARIE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — It was an emotional day in Schoharie County Court on Wednesday. Family members of the victims of the fatal Schoharie limousine crash walked in not knowing what to expect, but it quickly became clear they were pleased with the outcome.
It was a verdict more than four years in the making. Nauman Hussain was convicted on 20 counts of second-degree manslaughter.
From the cheer inside the courtroom to outside with the sun shining down on them, the families of the victims embraced each other on their victory.
“We did it!” Mary Ashton exclaimed.
“The day we waited for, it’s been a long time coming,” Jill Richardson-Perez said. “It may have been a shorter trial than people thought, but for us, those were long, long days.”
After the verdict was read, Hussain was lead away to jail in handcuffs. A sentencing hearing was set for May 31.
“That had to be very difficult,” Richardson-Perez said. “The defense and the people had great closing statements, so as a juror, had to take time for them to be fair.”
“You have no clue what we’ve gone through. None,” Ashton said.
The verdict was a win for both mothers, who lost their sons in the crash. The families inside the courtroom Wednesday have lived with the tragedy for the last 4.5 years.
On October 6, 2018, a 2001 Ford Excursion limousine experienced “catastrophic brake failure,” according to court documents. Seventeen passengers, the driver, and two bystanders were killed. It was one of the deadliest road wrecks in the U.S. in two decades. Hussain was the operator of the limo company, Prestige Limousine, and was accused of not properly maintaining the vehicle.
“That young man put my son in that vehicle,” Richardson-Perez said.
Though it was a good day in court, it was also filled with mixed emotions.
“I’m happy yet sad,” Ashton said. “As much as I want justice for my son, I still felt badly for him.”
While they are taking the verdict as a victory, the families made it clear that it was “partial justice,” and they want to see more people held accountable.
Hussain faces five to 15 years when he is sentenced.