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Matthew Odell Killed by Drunk Driver
January 1999 in Washington DC
A skater weas killed in Washington DC on January 28, 1999
when a drunk driver lost control of his car and slammed the skater into a tree.
18 year old Matthew Odell was killed in
Washington DC On January 28, 1999 when he was
hit by a drunk driver while he was skating in the street
The incident took place on Nebraska Avenue SW
where Matthew was hit from behind by a Ford Ranger,
slammed into a tree, thrown onto the hood of the car,
and very quickly thrown off onto the ground.
Driver Shane de Leon was charged with 2nd degree murder,
because he had been drinking earlier that evening
at a billiard hall, and he was allegedly driving faster
than the 30 mph speed limit. During his trial
an accident expert testified that
"in such darkness that neither Shane S. DeLeon nor any
other driver could have braked in time to avoid the skater on
the night he was killed". The expert went on to say that
"from the time his leg impacted the front bumper till
he was off the hood was 1/4 second"
De Leon pleaded guilty at first, but later he
withdrew his guilty plea.
The trial was controversial because there were charges
of juror misconduct and an altercation with obsenities
in the jury room.
10 of 12 were ready to convict for 2nd degree murder.
11 of the 12 jurors ended up changing their votes to the
lighter charges of negligant homicide or involuntary manslaughter.
On July 12, 2000 Shane de Leon was given a maximum
sentence of 20 months to 2 years.
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