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Entries in Manslaughter (9)

Tuesday
Feb192013

Miami ‘Party Princess’ Faces DUI Manslaughter Charge

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(MIAMI) -- Karlie Tomica is a college student who’s known as the Miami Beach "party princess," but police say her blood alcohol content was three times over the legal limit when she drove her boyfriend’s car, hit a well-known chef and fled the scene.

The chef, 49-year-old Stefano Riccioletti, was killed in the Jan. 28 accident, which happened in the early morning on Collins Avenue, a popular Miami Beach thoroughfare.  Riccioletti, who was married with three children, was the executive chef at Terraza at Shore Club, an upscale restaurant.

Police initially charged Tomica, 20, with leaving the scene of an accident, but added the DUI manslaughter charge when they got the results of her blood alcohol test.  She faces up to 30 years in prison if she’s convicted.

Tomica was apparently leaving her bartending job at the popular Nikki Beach nightclub when she allegedly hit Riccioletti.  He was reportedly thrown by the impact.  A witness called 911 and followed Tomica, and police arrested her.

Riccioletti’s family members have filed lawsuits against Tomica and Nikki Beach, arguing the club is responsible for allowing Tomica to leave intoxicated.

Riccoletti’s wife, Patrizia Pesce, said her first thought upon learning of her husband’s death was her children.

“How am I going to tell them that they have lost their Dad?” she said.

The family’s attorney, Jose Baez, added: “Stefano is not here, and it doesn’t matter if it is a car or a gun, he was killed.  And the persons or person responsible for that need to be held accountable.”

Tomica’s attorney, Mark Shapiro, said his client is a young girl who made a tragic mistake.

“She’s just a regular person who finds herself in this horrible situation,” he said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Nov162012

Oklahoma Judge Sentences Teen to Church for 10 Years

Comstock/Thinkstock(MUSKOGEE, Okla.) -- Anybody who knows Oklahoma District Court Judge Mike Norman probably yawned at the news that he’d sentenced a teen offender to attend church as part of his probation arrangement, and that the judge’s pastor was in the courtroom at the time.

Not only had he handed down such a sentence before, but he’d required one man to bring the church program back with him when he reported to court.

“The Lord works in many ways,” Norman, 69, told ABC News Friday. “I’ve done a little bit of this kind of thing before, but never on such a serious charge.”

Norman sentenced Tyler Alred, 17, Tuesday after he pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter in August for killing friend and passenger John Luke Dum in a car crash.

Dum died on impact in December after Alred crashed his Chevrolet pickup truck, ejecting Dum. Alred was 16 at the time of the crash and had been drinking prior to the deadly accident.

Oklahoma Highway Patrol issued a Breathalyzer at the time, and although Alred was under the state’s legal alcohol limit, he had been drinking underage.

The judge could have sent Alred to jail but, instead, taking into account his clean criminal and school records, sentenced him to wear a drug and alcohol bracelet, participate in counseling groups and attend a church of his choosing – weekly. He must also graduate from high school.

To avoid jail time, Norman gave Alred a maximum 10-year deferred sentence.

He’d never passed down the church-attendance requirement for someone as young as Alred,  said Norman, who has worked as a district Judge in Muskogee for 14 years.

“It’s not going to be automatic, I guarantee you,”  Norman said of the church sentence on future manslaughter charges. “There are a lot of people who say I can’t do what I did. They’re telling me I can’t legally sentence someone to church.”

Alred’s lawyer is not among the critics. “I usually represent outlaws and criminals,” defense attorney Donn Baker told the Muskogee Phoenix. “This is a kid that made a mistake. I think he’s worth saving.”

In the courtroom this week, an emotional scene between the victim’s family and Alred played out after statements from Dum’s mother, father and two sisters were read during the sentencing. Dum’s father and Alred stood up in court, turned toward each other and embraced one another.

“At that moment, it sure became a reality to me that I would sentence this boy to church” to help set him on the right path, Norman, a member of First Baptist Church in Muskogee, said. “There’s nothing I can do to make this up to the family."

“I told my preacher I thought I led more people to Jesus than he had but, then again, more of my people have amnesia. They soon forget once they get out of jail.”

After completing the rest of the requirements in his sentence, Alred will have the charge removed from his record.

“Only time will tell if we’ve saved Tyler Alred’s life,” the judge said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Sep112012

Florida Police Search for Woman Pushed in River by Boyfriend

Andrew Skevington (DeSoto County Sherrif''s Dept.)(ARCADIA, Fla.) -- Police are searching for a Florida woman who they say disappeared in a river after apparently being pushed into the water by her boyfriend.  A search is also under way for the man, who police say fled the scene.

The victim, an African American female in her late teens, and the suspect, a white male in his late 20s or early 30s, were standing on the edge of the Morgan Park Bridge in Arcadia, Fla., Sunday when other park goers began jumping into the Peace River to escape the summer heat, according to Sam Williamson, Chief Deputy of the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Department.  Witnesses told police the pair appeared to be a couple.

The woman said she did not want to jump because she could not swim, witnesses told police, but the man, believed to be her boyfriend, pushed her anyway.  The woman did not come up right away so the boyfriend jumped in after her, Williamson said.  Another man, later identified as Andrew Skevington, also jumped in after her.  Both men struggled with the strong current and were unable to reach her.

The woman was briefly able to grab a pylon and a nearby boater helped the men to shore but was unable to rescue the woman.  She disappeared underwater and hasn’t been seen since, Williamson said.

Once on shore, witnesses say the two men grabbed their belongings, including the woman’s, and fled when law enforcement arrived.

Skevington was arrested for accessory after the fact for manslaughter because he helped the unidentified male flee the scene, Williamson said.  He is currently in the DeSoto County Jail. Skevington is from the DeSoto County area and did not know the couple, who police believe are from Tampa, 100 miles away.  Police are still searching for the missing woman, and trying to find the man.

“What started out as a playful type thing on the bridge turned into manslaughter because they pushed this girl who couldn’t swim into the river,” Williamson said.  “It was maybe an accident and now is more sinister.”

If found, the man will face manslaughter charges, Williamson said.  Police are still investigating the situation.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jun262012

Missouri Party Host Blamed in Teen's Fatal Drunk Accident

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) -- On Halloween 2009, as Kenneth Blake, 19, was driving himself home from a party at which he had gotten drunk, he hit another car, killing Laura Reynolds, 16.  Nearly three years later, a Missouri judge is considering whether the party's host, Sandra Triebel, 46, should be tried on a charge of second-degree involuntary manslaughter for serving Blake drinks.

The state has never convicted an alcohol provider in connection with fatal drunk driving accidents, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Baker said.  But she said her office charged Triebel in Reynolds' death because she mixed the drinks herself in her Kansas City home, knew that Blake was a minor when she served him alcohol, and knew that he was intoxicated when he got into his car.  That level of criminal negligence warrants an involuntary manslaughter charge, she said.

"We're not out to get every social host in Missouri, but this is close enough to the line that it merited the charge, merited the prosecution," Baker said.  "When children are under our custody and control, we have a duty of care."

But under Missouri civil law, Triebel cannot be "held liable for the conduct of a third party," no matter how tragic its effect, said Tiffany Leuty, Triebel's public defender.

In a brief she filed before Jackson County Judge Peggy McGraw, Leuty argued that the involuntary manslaughter charge should be thrown out, since Missouri courts have for years ruled that "furnishing alcoholic beverages is not the proximate cause of injuries by intoxicated persons."

In a hearing before McGraw last week, Assistant Prosecutor Janette Rodecap pointed to a 2003 Pennsylvania case in which an appeals court upheld a woman's manslaughter conviction under circumstances similar to Triebel's.  Rodecap acknowledged that the Pennsylvania ruling was not legally relevant to Triebel's case, but argued that it showed the proper way to understand a party host's responsibility in such situations.

McGraw is expected to issue a ruling in the next two weeks on whether to allow the charge.

Triebel also faces charges of providing alcohol to a minor and allowing a minor to drink intoxicating liquor on her property.  Her trial is scheduled for September.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Apr202012

Polo Tycoon John Goodman in $46 Million Settlement for DUI Death

Palm Beach Sheriff's Office(PALM BEACH, Fla.) -- Convicted polo tycoon John Goodman agreed to a $46 million settlement with the parents of 23-year-old Scott Wilson who died in a drunken driving accident perpetrated by Goodman, according to court documents.

Lili and William Wilson, Scott Wilson's parents, will each receive $23 million in the settlement, the same age their son was when he was killed.

All parties involved had previously been tight-lipped about the settlement amount in the civil suit over the crash after Goodman adopted his 42-year-old girlfriend to help protect his estate in the civil suit.

The amount was disclosed in a motion for bond filed Wednesday.

The attorneys filed the motion in hopes of being able to get Goodman out of prison pending his appeal and the outcome of his motion for a new trial. Earlier this week, Goodman's attorneys filed a motion for a new trial based on alleged juror misconduct.

A Florida jury found Goodman guilty of DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide in March. He could face up to 30 years in prison when sentenced April 30.

Goodman's Bentley slammed into Scott Wilson's Hyundai and sent it into a nearby canal in Wellington, Fla., in February 2010. Wilson, a 23-year-old engineering graduate, was strapped into the driver's seat and drowned.

The multi-millionaire founder of the International Polo Club Palm Beach claimed his $200,000 car malfunctioned and lurched forward. He has also denied being drunk at the time of the crash that killed Wilson, although other testimony has contradicted him and his blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit three hours after the crash.

Attorneys for both Lili and William Wilson did not respond to ABC News requests for comment Friday.

But Christian Searcy, Lili Wilson's attorney, told the Palm Beach Post that the money did not come from Goodman's fortune, but, rather, from insurance companies. He also noted that $6 million of the settlement came from The Player's Club, the restaurant where Goodman had been drinking before the crash.

The motion filed Monday in a Palm Beach County court, asked for a new trial or for Goodman's convictions to be overturned.

In the motion, an alternate juror reported the alleged instances of misconduct to Goodman's lawyers, saying "it was clear" to her the jurors had made up their minds before the end of the trial.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Mar292012

Man Lies to Police, Gets Manslaughter Charge After Police Shoot Suspect

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(PASADENA, Calif.) -- An alleged robbery victim has been arrested and charged with involuntary manslaughter after his 911 call falsely claiming he was robbed at gunpoint led police to shoot an unarmed suspect, prosecutors charged.

Oscar Carrillo, 26, of Pasadena, Calif., admitted to police he lied about two suspects being armed when he called 911 to report the robbery of his laptop.

"Two guys just stole my backpack and put a gun in my face right now," Carrillo told the dispatcher in the 911 recording.

Carrillo said he made the allegation to speed up police response.

Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez called for an independent review into the shooting on Wednesday. The Los Angeles County District Attorney's officer-involved shooting team is also investigating the incident.

"The actions of the 911 caller set the minds of officers," Sanchez said at a press conference.

Carillo called the cops last Saturday and told the dispatcher he was following the suspects in his car. When police arrived, both teens took off in different directions.

One of the teens, Kendrec McDade, reached toward his waistband and police, fearing he had a gun, opened fire and killed him. McDade, 19, was unarmed.

"When you gun him down from inside your patrol car like he's a dog in the street, the community is outraged," Caree Harper, who is an attorney representing McDade's family, told ABC News.

She said she couldn't rule out racial motivations in the shooting.

The two officers involved in the shooting, whose names have not been released, are on paid administrative leave. The race of the officers was not immediately known.

The alleged second suspect, a 17-year-old, was arrested and charged with two counts of commercial burglary and one count of grand theft.

Police have not recovered the alleged stolen backpack. However, KABC reported police said surveillance video shows the teens were involved in a theft.

Harper said that with much of the attention on Carrillo's arrest, the actions of the officers deserve more scrutiny.

"They're held to a higher standard. They are the ones whose fingers are on the trigger," she said. "Those officers are independently in control of people who they shoot."

Harper said she believes police need to be working much more swiftly.

"I want my client, the minor client who is being held in custody to be released immediately. I want the surveillance tapes to be released immediately," she said. "And I want the chief to stop accusing my dead client of allegedly being involved in any criminal activity."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio 

Tuesday
May172011

Nancy Kerrigan's Brother on Trial for Allegedly Killing Father

ABC News(WOBURN, Mass.) -- Olympic figure skater Nancy Kerrigan appeared in court on Monday to support her brother on the first day of his manslaughter trial in connection with the death of his father, Daniel.

Police rushed to Daniel Kerrigan's Stoneham, Massachussetts home on Jan. 25, 2010 after Kerrigan's wife, Brenda, called 911 and reported that her husband had fallen.

But during the call, Brenda Kerrigan could be heard yelling for her son, Mark, to get away from her husband.  When asked by the 911 operator whether there was fighting in the background, Brenda Kerrigan said: "Oh, yes."  Her son then took the phone and spoke to the operator himself, telling the operator that his father "seemed to have a heart attack."

Prosecutors say that heart attack may have been provoked by the physical altercation with his son.

Mark Kerrigan was initially charged with assault, but the charges were upgraded.

According to authorities, the altercation between Mark Kerrigan and his father stemmed from a disagreement over using the phone to contact a woman.  Mark Kerrigan allegedly became angrier and more aggressive and continued to drink alcohol and argue with his father when he was refused access to the telephone.  Several hours later, Mark Kerrigan allegedly attacked his father.

Authorities determined that Daniel Kerrigan suffered a compression fracture to his left thyroid cartilage of his larynx which eventually led to his death, but the Kerrigan family has said that they believe the death was a result of a heart condition, and not the altercation with Mark Kerrigan.

Janice Bassil, Kerrigan's defense attorney, said her client loved his father.

"He didn't kill him.  Daniel Kerrigan was a very, very sick man -- no one knew it -- maybe he knew it, but he didn't share it with anybody," she said.

Brenda and Nancy Kerrigan had no comment for reporters as they went into the court.  Prosecutors could call both women to the stand to testify.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Mar142011

Driver of Horrific Bus Crash Previously Arrested and Convicted of Manslaughter

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The driver of the casino gambling tour bus that crashed on a New York highway Saturday, killing 15 people, had a history of driving without a license and other vehicular offenses and served nearly seven years for manslaughter and grand larceny.

Ophadell Williams, also known as Eric Williams, told police a tractor trailer rear-ended the bus, triggering the crash, but according to multiple sources, State Police investigators have repeatedly gone over the truck without finding anything linking it to the crash.

With lack of evidence casting further doubt on the driver's version of events, National Transportation Safety Board officials said they will again interview him.

Williams has a string of arrests and convictions that included charges in 2003 of aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, driving with a suspended license and unlawful possession of radio devices and police scanners.

According to New York State Department of Corrections records, Williams was convicted of manslaughter in April 1992. He served three years in jail, including 361 days before being convicted.

In 1998 he was convicted of grand larceny in Manhattan and served four years in state prison, from April 21, 1998 to May 15, 2002. He had also served 106 days of city jail time on that charge.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday that the state inspector general will begin an investigation of how a man with Williams' criminal record and driving history could have gotten a commercial driver's license.

Investigators into the crash will speak with witnesses at the Mohegan Sun casino in Connecticut, the bus's departure point, to piece together Williams' actions the night before the accident.

Officials want to know what he ate and drank, and whether he had slept before climbing behind the wheel to drive 32 passengers to New York City.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb162011

Murder or Assisted Suicide? Death of Motivational Speaker Hits Court

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A bizarre murder trial set to begin Thursday in New York City has the makings of both a good mystery novel and a precedent-setting case on what defines assisted suicide.

On the morning of July 16, 2009, police found the body of Jeffrey Locker, 52, a father of three and a motivational speaker from Long Island, slumped over the steering wheel of his black station wagon.  Locker's hands were tied behind his back, his chest was punctured by multiple stab wounds, and his wallet was missing.

The prime suspect was caught later that day.  Kenneth Minor, 38, an unemployed computer technician and a drug addict with a long criminal history, was seen on video withdrawing $1,000 from several ATMs using Locker's bank card.

When cops caught up with Minor, he told them an incredible story: Locker approached him on a street corner and asked his help to commit suicide.  He promised to give him his ATM card and PIN number as payment for his assistance.

Minor told police Locker drove through the streets of uptown Manhattan looking for someone to "do a Kevorkian," according to court documents and published accounts of a written statement he gave police.

"Locker said it had to look like a robbery so his family can get what they deserve," Minor wrote.

In the year-and-a-half since Minor's arrest, new evidence has emerged suggesting the man is telling the truth and Locker was indeed looking to kill himself.

Locker had made a fortune from his speeches teaching people how to deal with stress, but evidence from the months before his death suggest he was deeply in debt and took out a $4 million life insurance policy on himself for his family.  Minor's lawyer says it is evidence he was planning to kill himself.

The strange tale of how and why Minor agreed to get into Locker's car that morning may be of interest to jurors, but the ultimate question will come down to what he did in the car.  Did he "actively" murder Locker or did he "passively" assist in his suicide?  Minor's defense will turn on that question.

Though state law classifies "causing or aiding" someone in a suicide as manslaughter, Minor is charged with second-degree murder.  Prosecutors argue that murder is murder, even at someone's request.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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