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Thursday, Apr. 28, 2016

Manslaughter charges dropped

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Evaluation says Martin unable to answer charges against him

OREGON COUNTY -- A manslaughter case against a Thayer man has been dropped after he was deemed incompetent to stand trial. Kenneth R. Martin was charged last year with felony manslaughter and felony second degree assault.

On Nov. 18, 2005, Oregon County Associate Judge Jo Beth Prewitt ordered Martin, 24, to undergo a mental evaluation by the Southeast Missouri Mental Health Center to see if he was competent to stand trial on the charges brought against him. The request for the evaluation came from Martin's attorney, Jacob Garrett of West Plains.

The results of the evaluation were announced last week and it was determined Martin was unable to answer the charges.

Because the results of the evaluation were sealed, the name or names of the doctors involved in the evaluation cannot be made public.

Garrett made a motion to the court May 4 asking that the charges against his client be dismissed because of the findings. Prewitt took the motion under advisement and said May 5 the case would be dismissed because Martin was unable to stand trial.

The charges against Martin were filed Oct. 5, 2005. They stem from an accident that occurred March 18, 2005, on V Highway in Oregon County in which two Thayer teenagers were killed.

Martin was the driver of the vehicle the teenagers were riding in. David S. Robinson, 15, and Cassandra M. Jewell, 15 were killed in the wreck.

The wreck happened approximately 12 miles east of Thayer. The wreck was investigated by officers with Troop G of the Missouri Highway Patrol.

Martin recklessly caused the death of both teens, according to the Missouri Highway Patrol. The troopers said Martin had been consuming intoxicants and driving at excessive speeds.

Martin was wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident but none of the other passengers in the vehicle were wearing seat belts, according to the Highway Patrol.

The felony assault charges against Martin stems from injuries sustained to the three other passengers in the accident. Jake Jewell, 11, Katrina Jewell, 13, and Amory Robinson, 13, all of Thayer, were injured.

Martin was traveling 70 to 75 mph at the time of the crash, according to authorities. Occupants of the vehicle had observed Martin drinking alcoholic beverages prior to the crash. A blood sample taken from Martin at a Springfield hospital showed he had a blood alcohol level of .05 percent, according to authorities. The sample was taken nearly four hours after the accident. In Missouri a person must test .08 percent to be legally intoxicated.

Oregon County Prosecuting Attorney Fred O'Neill said if Martin shows signs of improvement he will ask Judge Prewitt to have him re-examined and re-evaluated. O'Neill said if he passes the mental evaluation he could still face the charges.

The prosecutor said the statute of limitations for a felony charge in Missouri is three years. He said in this case the statute of limitations may not be binding due to the nature of the charges.

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