Attorneys in deadly crash case spar over victim's intoxication levels

5 months 2 weeks 3 days ago Friday, August 03 2018 Aug 3, 2018 Friday, August 03, 2018 3:06:00 PM CDT August 03, 2018 in News
By: Alayna Chapie, KOMU 8 Reporter

COLUMBIA - Lawyers on both sides of a case involving a deadly crash argued on court Friday about potential testimony about the victim of the 2016 incident.

Joshua Keller is awaiting trial, charged with murder for allegedly causing a deadly crash on New Year's Eve in 2016. Keller's vehicle and the one driven by Sebastian Sneed hit each other head-on; Sneed died, while Keller and a child in Sneed's car survived.

In July, prosecutors filed a motion asking that jurors not be allowed to hear testimony about Sneed's level of intoxication at the time of the crash. They reinforced that argument at Friday's hearing.

Jennifer Rodewald, Boone County assistant prosecuting attorney for the state, said Sneed's toxicology result would be irrelevant if it's used as evidence. 

"Even if the facts are exactly as the defense has laid out in their objection to my motion, even if the victim did pull out in front of the defendant that's still as a matter of law is not an intervening cause. So it does not resolve the defendant of guilt," Rodewald said. 

Jenean Thompson, attorney for Keller, said this is the case where the victim's own negligence does rise to the level of intervening. 

"The choices that the victim made in this case to drink to the level of twice the legal limit and to smoke marijuana in the amount that he had active THC in his system, his choice not to wear his seatbelt before he started driving that night with his 6-year-old son in the back seat. Those were all independent decisions he made without regard or having anything to do with Mr.Keller's decision making process that night," Thompson said. 

The judge will make the decision on the motions at a later date.

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