Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Navien Case to Reach Trial Next Week

After more than a year and a half of hearings and legal maneuvering, the man accused of killing a rising sophomore while driving drunk on a northern Massachusetts highway is scheduled to begin standing trial next week.

Prosecutors have accused Paul Mscisz, of Haverhill, Mass., of driving with a blood alcohol level above the state’s legal limit early on the morning of June 18, 2005, when he crashed into a vehicle being driven by Matthew Navien.

Witnesses said Mscisz, 30, was driving erratically, revving his engine at stoplights and speeding before he swerved into oncoming traffic on Route 125 near North Andover, Mass., and struck Navien’s car, according to a police accident report and court filings.

Navien, a 19-year-old Georgetown ROTC member and former Eagle Scout who had been returning home from a friend’s house just after 1 a.m., was declared dead soon afterward at Lawrence General Hospital. When Mscisz, who survived with some injuries, was interviewed by police at the hospital at roughly the same time, he had “the odor of alcoholic beverage coming from his person,” according to the accident report.

Mscisz has remained in custody during most of the period since the crash.

Mscisz faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of the most serious charges filed against him, including manslaughter and motor vehicle homicide while operating under the influence of alcohol.

Steve O’Connell, a spokesman for the Essex County District Attorney’s Office, said he expected the trial to begin Jan. 31 and last two to three days. The location of the proceedings has not yet been determined, he said.

O’Connell said that cable network Court TV had also notified the district attorney of its intention to show the trial via courtroom cameras next week.

“There’s no way that there could be justice in this situation,” said Navien’s mother Susan Navien, who said she plans to attend the trial. “It’s been a long time ago. I think in so many ways it doesn’t really matter, because no matter what happens, it isn’t going to bring him back.”

Susan Navien also criticized the long delays in the trial process and said she did not expect Mscisz to show genuine remorse.

“They were stalling and they were trying to manipulate the system,” she said. “I expect to see some poor behavior, some bad choices. I expect to see a poor attitude. . He’s not taking responsibility.”

Mscisz’s attorney, Michael Bowser, did not return repeated calls seeking comment.

Navien’s mother said the family had been told that the witnesses called to testify would include friends Navien had visited before driving home, but prosecutors declined to comment because the final witness list has not yet been filed in court. No family members are scheduled to testify, but the family has been asked to prepare an impact statement to be read to the judge before sentencing if Mscisz is convicted, she said.

Some of Navien’s friends said they intended to keep track of the legal developments. Robert Perkins (SFS ’08), who met Navien at a GU College Republicans party and became close friends with him in Georgetown’s ROTC program, said that even though more than a year had passed since Navien’s death, his anger toward Mscisz was still raw.

“I’m glad to see that the guy’s hopefully going to be brought to justice, because to my mind what he did is pretty much inexcusable,” Perkins said. “I do wish it was maybe more than 20 years because Matt wasn’t even 20 years old and he took him out of the world.”

Perkins said that Navien’s friends still talked about him often, even long after most of them had come to terms with his death.

“We do talk about Matt, but it’s in sort of a reminiscing kind of way. It’s kind of a sore point. It’s kind of depressing,” he said. “It’s a shame that it took so long, for Matt’s family’s sake. But I’m glad if it helps bring them closure as well.”

Susan Navien said that no matter the outcome of the trial, she would continue to mourn her son’s death and work to keep his memory alive. The Navien family donated a statue of Thomas Aquinas, one of Matthew’s favorite authors, to his high school library in November.

“We don’t look for ultimate justice here on earth anyway,” Susan Navien said. “I’ve actually been relieved that [Mscisz has] been in prison all this time. My only regret is that we can’t keep him there forever, so he doesn’t hurt someone else with his poor choices.”

Donate to The Hoya

Your donation will support the student journalists of Georgetown University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Hoya