Long Island News

Heise sentenced in deaths of teens

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

They'll never get over the loss of their sons. But Tuesday, the parents of best friends Eugene Franjola and Steven Massina they finally feel some relief. The man who caused so much pain, is now heading to prison.

"He's still here. His mom can still visit him in jail. I have to go to a gravesite to visit my son," said mother, Margaret Massina.

A faded memorial still stands at the spot, David Heise, his license to drive suspended, sailed through a red light last April, slamming into the teens' car.

17-year-old Franjola never had a chance. 16-year-old Massina clung to life 10 days, but did not survive.

"I feel a little bit of closure but closure never really happens when you lose a child," said mother, Barbara Franjola.

Heise pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide, and a later arrest for drug possession, in return for a light sentence.

But while still on bail, the admitted heroin addict was arrested again with narcotics, this time in Queens. Days later, deputies caught him allegedly smuggling drugs into the Suffolk County Jail.

At sentencing today, Heise apologized.

"I will never forgive myself," he said. "I only wish it could have been me who died, not these young kids. I take full responsibility."

But after the hearing, Heise's mother blamed the victims, claiming paperwork proves Franjola, who'd been driving, had been smoking pot.

"I don't know why this was not allowed into court," said Heise's mother, Virginia.

The information was irrelevant, say prosecutors. After a four month reconstruction proved the teens had no role in the crash and in fact may not even have known what hit them, when Heise flew through that red light.

"Mr. Heise was unremorseful. He didn't care. He kept offending, offending. And he'll spend a long time thinking about his actions. And our kids have eternity," said father, Eugene Franjola.

Heise was sentenced to 6 1/3 to 9 years in prison Wednesday.

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