For Immediate Release - January 31, 2013

Peabody Mother and Son Offer Pleas in Social Host Case

                Deborah Arnott, 42 and her son Brandon Arnott, 18, of 31 Elizabeth Lane, Peabody offered pleas yesterday in Peabody District Court to charges related to a 2011 party at their home after which two teen guests were charged with drunk driving.

                “These defendants’ egregious actions demonstrated a total disregard for the law which justifies the Commonwealth’s request for committed time.  The adult failed in her responsibility to ensure the safety of the children at her home and her son repeatedly lied to police during the investigation,” District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said.  “Two teenagers left their home and were charged with driving while intoxicated, thus endangering themselves and the rest of the community.  One of those teenagers is, frankly, lucky to be alive right now.”

                Mrs. Arnott pleaded guilty to procuring alcohol for minors and was found guilty by Judge Richard Mori and sentenced to 1 year of probation.  She must pay $500 in court costs and attend a half-day Brains At Risk program.  Essex Assistant District Attorney Aimee Conway recommended that she be sentenced to 1 year in the House of Correction with 6 months to be served, arguing that, “She ignored her responsibility by allowing underage partygoers to continue drinking alcohol in her home and failed to monitor those partygoers to ensure that they did not get into a vehicle, drive, and put the entire community at risk.”

                Brandon Arnott admitted to sufficient facts to find him guilty of the crime of witness intimidation, which includes misleading a police officer. Judge Mori continued his case without a finding for 18 months and ordered him to remain alcohol free, submit to random screens, write a letter of apology to the Peabody Police, perform 50 hours of community service, attend a half-day Brains At Risk program and pay $250 in restitution to the Peabody Police.  Conway recommended that he be found guilty and sentenced to serve 1 year in the House of Correction with 6 months to be served based on, “his repeated disregard for the authority of the Peabody Police Department and his continuous efforts to derail the investigation into a serious criminal matter.”

                Had this case gone to trial, Conway would have proven that on December 10, 2011, Brandon Arnott had about 20 underage friends to his home for a drinking party.  When his mother Deborah arrived home at approximately 10:00 p.m., she told the guests to sleep over and then went to bed.  At some point in the evening, two guests left her home and were later charged with operating under the influence of alcohol.  One of those guests, Robert Habeeb, crashed his car into house and had to be rushed to a Boston hospital.  He later pleaded guilty to operating under the influence and driving to endanger.

                Conway would have also proven that Brandon Arnott repeatedly lied to Peabody Police officers during the course of their investigation regarding the number of guests, his mother’s knowledge that alcohol on the premises and who purchased the alcohol.

                Mrs. Arnott was represented by Attorney Carmine Lepore and Brandon was represented by Attorney Leo Fama.

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