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Archive for Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Attorney seeks dismissal of murder verdicts, new trial for Ramona Morgan in hit-and-run case

The attorney for a woman convicted of killing two highway workers south of Lawrence last year asks for a new trial.

October 14, 2008

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Ramona Morgan found guilty

Ramona Morgan was found guilty of killing two men and injuring a third when she drove her truck through a construction zone on U.S. Highway 59 south of Lawrence on Sept. 11, 2007.

The defense attorney for a woman convicted in September of running over and killing two highway workers in 2007 in Douglas County has filed several motions asking the judge to grant a new trial or throw out the verdicts altogether.

A jury convicted Ramona Morgan, 49, of Chewelah, Wash., of two counts of reckless second-degree murder for driving her pickup truck on Sept. 11, 2007, through a U.S. Highway 59 construction zone near Pleasant Grove and striking and killing Ty Korte, 30, of Seneca, and Rolland Griffith, 24, of El Dorado.

She was convicted of aggravated battery for injuring a third worker. In her defense, Morgan said she thought she struck orange barrels and believed people were chasing her.

Morgan's attorney, Billy Rork, of Topeka, has said several elements of the trial unfairly prejudiced the jury against his client, and he has asked District Judge Paula Martin to either acquit his client, dismiss the charges or order a new trial.

Martin has scheduled a motion hearing and sentencing for Nov. 12.

It is common for defense attorneys to file motions asking a judge for a new trial before the sentencing. Rork's motions include:

¢ Asking for the judge to acquit Morgan because prosecutors did not present enough evidence to show that Morgan could have seen the two workers on the road before the impact, especially because her windshield was broken.

¢ Saying that "cumulative errors" created a prejudice against Morgan, including prosecutors admitting a video of a Kansas Highway Patrol accident reconstruction that Rork said was inaccurate and not comparable to conditions Morgan faced as she drove through the work zone. He asked for a new trial in that motion.

¢ Requesting the Douglas County case be dismissed because it amounted to double jeopardy because she was already convicted of eluding law enforcement in Osage County after the wreck. Martin has already rejected a motion similar to this from Rork before the Douglas County trial.

¢ Asking Martin to grant a new trial because the judge did not allow Rork to give jurors a legal definition for Morgan's "state of mind" after they asked her a question during deliberations. Instead, Rork said Martin's written answer to jurors was unfair to Morgan and helped them reach the second-degree murder verdicts.

¢ Also wanting a new trial because he said "it is hard to believe that it was mere coincidence" jurors asked the questions to the judge during deliberations that were similar to a summary of closing arguments from David Melton, a chief assistant Douglas County district attorney, and Rork that were published that morning in the Journal-World. Jurors are instructed not to read, listen or view any media reports during the trial, and it could have prejudiced their decision, Rork argued.

Comments

4thgencowgirl 6 years ago

Ditto!!! I agree big time!!!

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domino 6 years ago

Judge Martin - please stand firm and do not allow these motions to be granted. It would indeed be a travisty to allow this ruling to be overturned or changed in any way, shape or form. Justice needs to be served for the memory of these two young men and for their families.

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WHY 6 years ago

David Melton is an idiot so there is a good chance he will lose the case.

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bangaranggerg 6 years ago

I wonder if Ramona knows how lucky she was to have Billy do this whole defense for her. No way I could afford Billy if I got in trouble and I actually have a job.. a job that's doesn't involve meth and being chased by aliens in my suburban down a narrow highway.

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tellitlikeitis 4 years, 4 months ago

Just because you have a job, doesn't mean you don't qualify for an appointed lawyer.

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samsnewplace 6 years ago

"billy boy" needs his head examined! Throw the book at the idiot as she deserves nothing less.

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doc1 6 years ago

Judge Martin. You the man! Be the Man!

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John Hamm 6 years ago

He (Rork) might have a couple of points of law - and that's what she's supposed to adhere to. I'd sure hate to see another trial BUT if the DA blew it...............The last thing she wants is to have it go to a higher court and get overturned there.

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babygirl08 6 years ago

I HOPE THEY "THROW THE BOOK" AT THIS WOMAN. THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR WHAT HER ACTIONS WERE THAT RESULTED IN THE HORRIBLE DEATHS OF TWO CONSTRUCTION WORKERS AND INJURING ANOTHER. I CAN NOT BELIEVE THAT SHE "THOUGHT SHE HIT ORANGE BARRELS AND NOT PEOPLE" IF SHE WOULD HAVE STOPPED WHEN SHE WAS FLAGGED THEN NONE OF THIS WOULD HAVE HAPPENED. FURTHERMORE, THE FACT THAT SHE NOT ONLY CAME THROUGH THERE ONCE BUT TWICE SPEEDING SHOWS SHE HAS NO VALUE FOR HUMAN LIFE! IF SHE THOUGHT PEOPLE WERE "CHASING" HER, SHE SHOULD HAVE STOPPED AND ASK FOR HELP CONSIDERING ALL THE WORKERS THAT WERE OUT THERE. I WOULD BE WILLING TO BET, THAT IF SHE HAD STOPPED AND ASKED THE TWO WORKERS SHE KILLED FOR HELP, THAT THEY WOULD HAVE GOT HER THE HELP SHE NEEDED BUT, THEY DIDN'T GET THAT CHANCE. SOME MAY THINK THAT IT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE TO "THROW THE BOOK AT HER" BUT OBVIOUSLY SHE DIDN'T CARE WHEN SHE CHOSE TO SPEED THROUGH THERE KNOWING THAT IT WAS A CONSTRUCTION ZONE AND TAKING TWO YOUNG LIVES THAT WERE CUT SHORT BECAUSE OF HER STUPIDITY!

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