Drunken driver gets 8 years in motorcyclist's death

Posted: June 19, 2004

Alan Fulton was a good father, a good husband, and a hardworking truck driver who relaxed by riding his Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

Murray Heimann was a 23-year-old with a drinking problem who had been arrested for drunken driving two weeks earlier.

But that didn't stop him, and on Oct. 8, 2000, he downed so much alcohol that he was nearly three times beyond the legal driving limit when his car slammed into Fulton's motorcycle on Route 70 near Fulton's home in Pemberton Township, killing him instantly.

Heimann, of Jackson, N.J., was sentenced yesterday to eight years in prison for vehicular homicide by state Superior Court Judge Thomas S. Smith Jr. in Mount Holly. The judge also revoked driving privileges for 20 years after Heimann's release.

Heimann initially pleaded not guilty, but changed his plea in April. He had posted bail, but a warrant for him was issued after he missed two court hearings. He was found in Maine with relatives.

Robin Fulton would have celebrated her 25th wedding anniversary soon. She brought a large, framed picture with her to the courtroom.

"I want you to see the face of the man whose life you took," she said to Heimann, "and I want you to see and feel some of the pain you caused us."

Fulton, 42, was an Air Force veteran who dreamed of retiring to Florida, she said.

Heimann did not speak, but his attorney, George Saponaro, read a statement from his client that expressed regret.

Heimann has not driven a car since the accident, Saponaro said. He said Heimann recognized he had a drinking problem and had tried to get help, but had been drinking off and on since Fulton's death.

Smith was dumbfounded by that disclosure.

"Common sense would say if you've got a problem with drinking, you should not be drinking at all. Especially, as with this case, you are responsible with the death of this individual," the judge said.

Contact staff writer Joel Bewley

at 609-261-0900 or jbewley@phillynews.com.

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