Jury selection began yesterday in a DWI related murder charge brought against a former North Carolina doctor. Twelve jurors were chosen and as the parties were selecting alternates this morning when the trial was abruptly halted. The prosecutor asked to delay in the North Carolina DWI trial to allow the matter to return the grand jury.
The state proceeded to trial with a bad indictment. The defense apparently did not agree to proceed on information. The prosecutor will have to take the matter back to a grand jury in order to proceed on a charge of second degree murder related to an alleged DWI crash resulting in death.
The indictment did not include pertinent language regarding malice, which is the basis of the prosecutor’s second degree murder charge. The judge reportedly granted the prosecutor’s request for a delay in the matter.
North Carolina law allows prosecutors to attempt to prove malice in a DWI related second degree murder charge based upon evidence that the accused intended to drive in a reckless manner with knowledge that injury or death would likely result from the driving conduct. The former doctor reportedly has been previously charged with driving under the influence of alcohol.
The case arose after an alleged incident the evening of September 11, 2009. Police claim the 43-year-old doctor spent time at a country club and later drinking at a tavern. After leaving the establishments, the doctor allegedly drove on Strickland Road in Raleigh at roughly two times the posted speed limit. According to the charges against him, he was driving with a blood alcohol content more than twice the North Carolina legal limit.
Police say he crashed his Mercedes-Benz into the rear end of a car driven by a 20-year-old woman. She reportedly died in the accident. The DWI related charges included the flawed indictment for second degree murder.
The matter now returns to the grand jury.
Source: News and Observer, “Snag sends Cook murder case back to grand jury,” Anne Blythe 2 Nov 2010