Manslaughter Indictment In Death Of Jet Skier
By Charles Rogers
In a precedent-breaking case, a Brooklyn grand jury last week indicted a 17-year-old jet-skier on a charge of manslaughter in the death of another jet-skier, Paul Zaccaria, also 17, last summer in Mill Basin. Aristotle Plagianakos was also charged with criminally negligent homicide and reckless endangerment in the incident, which took place at about 4:30 p.m. last June 30 as the victim was coming into port behind his house on National Drive, which borders the waterway. Sources said the court case is unusual because it is the first time that an indictment has been tendered under maritime state penal law.
Plagianakos, who lives only a few houses from the Zaccaria residence, and Zaccaria had been driving through the area with passengers and Zaccaria had just dropped his passenger off and was headed to port when Plagianakos, with his passenger on board, hit the side of the victim's vessel. Zaccaria was thrown in the air and when he hit the water he disappeared. Plagianakos and his 14-year-old rider apparently surveyed the scene and then sped away in an unknown direction. They returned later but were not charged at the time. Fellow jet skiers and swimmers nearby searched for the victim's body until police, firefighters, Coast Guard rescue workers and helicopters arrived and searched through the night and into following days without finding Zaccarias' body.
Meanwhile, police who had been investigating the case charged Plagianakos with leaving the scene of an accident and speeding. Later, the case was brought to the grand jury and they passed down the indictment last week. A spokesperson for District Attorney Charles Hynes said the suspect will be arraigned sometime this week.