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Kansas driver to mount criminal defense against murder charge

A Kansas driver who reportedly caused a fatal accident in March has been arrested and charged in connection with the wreck. The defendant, age 55, will mount a criminal defense against allegations of second-degree unintentional but reckless murder. A 54-year-old passenger in the man's vehicle died in the horrific accident.

Authorities report that the defendant has made his first courtroom appearance in connection with the accident, which occurred at about 3:30 p.m. on March 5 on North Jackson in Wichita. The defendant is accused of slamming his vehicle into a tree at the intersection of 21st and Waco. Witnesses said they saw the defendant's yellow Pontiac Sunfire speeding along the road before swerving, crashing into a mail truck and then running into a tree.

The collision caused the tree to strike on the passenger side of the defendant's vehicle. The victim died in the crash, but the driver was also critically injured in the incident. He was arrested on May 22 in connection with the wreck; the investigation apparently took some time. He is formally charged with second-degree murder, driving without a license and involuntary manslaughter. He remains jailed on a quarter-million dollar bond.

Officers say this is not the man's first run-in with the law. In fact, he has actually served time in prison for several violations, including crimes such as robbery and aggravated battery. He was also convicted on felony DUI charges about 11 years ago, according to court records, and he had two prior convictions for the same crime at the time of that arrest.

Individuals who are facing repeat offenses or multiple offenses because of a criminal record may have special courtroom needs. The defense strategy for someone who has a criminal record may differ from a first-time offender. Kansas attorneys may be able to help craft a more effective defense plan for this type of criminal defendant, considering previous offenses while defending against current charges.

Source: The Wichita Eagle, "Driver in fatal March crash arrested" Stan Finger and Amy Renee Leiker, May. 23, 2014

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