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Archive for Monday, September 8, 2008

Jury to continue deliberations in U.S. Highway 59 fatalities

Jurors hearing the second degree murder trial of Ramona Morgan deliberate more than four hours on Monday but have yet to reach a verdict.

September 8, 2008

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Ramona Morgan talks with her attorney, Billy Rork, Monday in Douglas County District Court. Behind them is a photograph of the truck that police say Morgan was driving when two U.S. Highway 59 workers were struck and killed on Sept. 11, 2007.

Ramona Morgan talks with her attorney, Billy Rork, Monday in Douglas County District Court. Behind them is a photograph of the truck that police say Morgan was driving when two U.S. Highway 59 workers were struck and killed on Sept. 11, 2007.

Jurors will return to Douglas County District Court Tuesday morning to deliberate the fate of a Washington state woman accused of killing two highway workers in 2007 in a hit-and-run.

During closing arguments Monday, a prosecutor accused Ramona I. Morgan, 49, of "showing extreme indifference to the value of human life" by her actions on Sept. 11, 2007 - a key legal phrase for the highest charge she faces.

"She accelerated 51 mph into a group of men on foot. She showed extreme and absolute indifference to the value of human life," said David Melton, a chief assistant Douglas County district attorney.

But Morgan's defense attorney, Billy Rork, told jurors that prosecutors failed to meet the burden of proof and that his client, scared for her life, thought she was being chased when she drove through the construction zone.

"Ramona Morgan's state of mind is the key - not yours, not mine," Rork said.

Prosecutors are trying to convict Morgan of two counts of reckless second-degree murder for striking and killing construction workers Tyrone Korte, 30, an inspector for the Kansas Department of Transportation from Seneca, and Rolland Griffith, 24, a construction worker for Dustrol Inc. from El Dorado, on U.S. Highway 59 near Pleasant Grove. She also faces an aggravated battery charge for injuring a third worker, Curtis Delzell, a Dustrol Inc. construction worker.

Jurors have the option of convicting Morgan of lesser charges: involuntary manslaughter or vehicular homicide, which is a misdemeanor.

Melton attacked Morgan's defense claim that she believed people were chasing her for two days across Missouri and Kansas and shooting at her truck to try to rob her.

He also stressed testimony from workers and construction zone drivers who said Morgan and her daughter, Sabrina Morgan, 27, were laughing the first time they drove north through the construction zone and caused a line of southbound cars following a pilot vehicle to pull off the road.

But Rork said eyewitness testimony at the trial was inconsistent from interviews with law enforcement shortly after the hit-and-run. He also emphasized that the damage to the truck's windshield could have impeded her view; Rork has said Morgan thought she struck only orange barrels.

Throughout Monday afternoon, the 12-person jury had a court reporter read back testimony several times. When the trial resumes at 9 a.m. Tuesday in District Judge Paula Martin's courtroom, jurors will listen to a reading of part of the testimony of Morgan, who testified in her defense Friday.

Comments

stuckinthemiddle 6 years ago

OldEnuf2BYurDadI believe that Morgan did make and 911 call the day before and claimed she was being chased... on the channel 6 news they said that the jurors had requested to re-listen to the recording of that call...

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KansasPerson 6 years ago

Even if she truly thought she was being chased (and that's a big if), was she really so out of it to think that all the construction people were somehow "in on it"??How out of it would she have to be to not even NOTICE that she had struck people with her vehicle?Her story has sounded like baloney from the start. I agree with a previous poster (different article) that she's had quite a bit of jail-time to think up this lame defense. And I'm not sympathetic to the "mental illness" angle in this case.And I'm still puzzled on the whole issue with the daughter. Did she also think they were being chased? Could she not talk her mom down from her reckless behavior? (I can't remember if the daughter is being charged too.)My prayers are with the family and friends. The pain you must be feeling is not even imaginable to me.

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weloverollandgene 6 years ago

Lawrence lets make sure justice is done.She got away with it in Washington at least in Washington she didn't take any human lives when she had road rage. May we show her that a new start around our area does not mean you can murder the anyone you want. Then just makeup a story because the law will not do what you want. In Kansas you took lives, let us pray that the jurors see the light. If the jurors go off of evidence and not here say including Morgans it would be open and shut. What proof do we have she was being chased,base it off of PHYSICAL EVIDENCE ONLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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jayhawker2008 6 years ago

What's to deliberate? She ran through the construction zone once, only to turn around and kill 2 people on her way back. She's crazy and needs to be put in jail!

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weloverollandgene 6 years ago

We hope the jurors are smart enough to see through her lies she is making up a story and all evidence points to her gilt come on jury wake up!!!!!!!!!

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4thgencowgirl 6 years ago

Manus, I have to agree with you. I think they both were. Again, condolences to the family.

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OldEnuf2BYurDad 6 years ago

"she believed people were chasing her for two days across Missouri and Kansas and shooting at her truck to try to rob her"In that two day period I'm sure she stopped to eat, sleep, relieve herself... but never took the opportunity to call 911 to report that she was being attacked? Two days of being pursued, but she never called the cops. Not believable. I think "something" was going on - drug deal gone bad, mental illness, something. She needs (needed) to just come clean and say "I did it because I'm nuts/I was running from my pimp/etc." rather than this "one armed man" defense.

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