Archive for Friday, June 2, 1995

MAN PLEADS NO CONTEST IN DEATH OF PASSENGER

June 2, 1995

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— Sentencing is scheduled on July 25 for a Topeka man who pleaded no contest Thursday to involuntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Delgadillo, Lecompton.

In return for the plea, prosecutors dismissed charges of driving under the influence of alcohol, no proof of insurance, failure to maintain a single lane of traffic and failure to wear a seat belt that also had been filed against Paul J. Ray, 28.

Assistant Jefferson County Atty. Rex Lane said the charge to which Ray pleaded alleged that he killed Delgadillo unintentionally while committing the crime of driving under the influence of alcohol.

Ray faces a possible prison term ranging from 31 to 136 months.

Had the case gone to trial, the state's evidence would have shown that Ray's blood alcohol content when tested after the accident was .30 percent, nearly four times the legal limit for intoxication in Kansas of .08 percent, Lane said. Other evidence would have shown Ray was driving the 1973 pickup truck in which the 33-year-old Delgadillo was riding.

Delgadillo suffered massive head injuries when the pickup ran off the road early Jan. 21, about a mile west of Perry on U.S. Highway 24. He was thrown from the pickup during the accident.

Lane said Ray's attorney, Joseph Johnson of Topeka, stated during Thursday's plea hearing that he intended to appeal the constitutionality of a state statute regulating the sentence his client will receive. That statute will allow Ray's sentence to be enhanced because he was convicted of involuntary manslaughter involving alcohol and has previous convictions for driving under the influence.

Under current law, Ray could be given a longer sentence because his prior convictions for misdemeanor driving under the influence charges could be converted to "person felonies" for sentencing purposes.

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