Truck driver in Kaitlin Charity case convicted

John Martarello, driver of one of three vehicles that struck former Geneseo student Kaitlin Charity, was convicted of first-degree perjury, a felony, on Feb. 27.

Martarello, who was driving a 1984 Peterbilt long nose truck, was additionally charged with leaving the scene of the Oct. 20, 2007 accident that killed Charity. In the grand jury trail on Dec. 5, 2007, Martarello was charged and the case went to trial on Feb. 23, 2009.

The reasoning for Martarello's conviction was the inconsistency of his story throughout the trial - he first told the grand jury that he believed he had hit a rolled up carpet and later said he thought he had hit a deer.

"For first-degree perjury, [Martarello] will receive a possible two and a third to seven years in state prison," said district attorney Thomas Moran.

According to Moran, the New York State law that let Martarello off of the other charge is "narrow in scope."

"The law only requires someone who knows they have hit and injured someone to call authorities before they leave the scene," said Moran. Because Martarello claimed he did not know he had hit a person, he was not obligated by the law to contact authorities.

Although Martarello supposedly would have seen police and forensic technicians conducting an investigation on his return drive past the accident's scene, according to Moran, even "in the event that they learn [of their crime] later, the law does not require them to contact any authority."

Martarello is awaiting his final sentencing, scheduled for April 23, 2009.