WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Volodymyr Zhukovskyy was acquitted Tuesday in the deaths of seven motorcyclists, he is now in the custody of U.S. Immigration.

A jury in New Hampshire found 26-year-old Volodymyr Zhukovsky not guilty, acquitting him of multiple counts of negligent homicide, manslaughter, and other charges. They deliberated for less than three hours before returning the verdict.

Defense attorneys successfully argued that the head-on collision was caused by the lead biker of the group whose blood alcohol content was close to twice the legal limit. Zhykovskyy was found to have taken heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine on the day of the crash.

He has been in jail since June 21, 2019 and will remain behind bars pending an immigration hearing.

The following is a statement sent to 22News from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement:

“In June 2019, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Boston issued an immigration detainer with the Coos County Jail in West Stewartstown, New Hampshire for Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, 26, a citizen of Ukraine.

Zhukovskyy has an extensive criminal history including three prior convictions of charges that included Possession of Cocaine and Heroin, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Driving Under Suspension, Furnishing False Information to an Officer and Larceny.  

He was taken into ICE custody at the Grafton County Department of Corrections facility in North Haverhill, New Hampshire and was served a Notice to Appear on Aug. 9, 2022

He is in ICE custody pending his appearance before an immigration judge.

Zhukovskyy has prior convictions including drug possession but a local immigration lawyer said while convictions like that are serious, they might not necessarily be grounds for deportation.

“Someone who has a significant number of serious crimes and a history or has committed some fraud or has committed those crimes of moral turpitude. Or that he’s a habitual drug addict who has not reformed,” said Lawyer Dennis Desmarais.

Moral Turpitude refers to crimes like murder, embezzlement or perjury. Desmarais said if Zhukovskyy is accused of moral turpitude, he could apply for a waiver. The other aspect of this immigration case, Zhukovskyy is from Ukraine. Desmarais said natives can apply for special temporary status through the immigration authority to avoid returning to the deadly conflict there.

“There is some degree of discretion and it may be possible if another country were willing to take him it may in fact be the case that Ukraine could attempt to refuse his return,” said Desmarais. He expects the whole process to take a few months.