Wrong-way murder trial delayed due to death in victim’s family - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Localnews

Wrong-way murder trial delayed due to death in victim’s family

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Posted: Thursday, September 24, 2009 11:00 pm

Before the wrong-way murder trial of Christopher Lee Smith, 32, could begin, it was put on hold after a sudden death in the victim’s family in Vietnam.

Opening statements were expected Thursday.

Police say that on Christmas Eve in 2007 Smith, 32, was drunk and driving for miles on the wrong side of Pecos Road when he crashed into a van, killing 32-year-old Trang Vo and injuring three others, Ngyon Chung, 45, Kiem Chung, 40, and Tuyet Nguyen, 39. They live in Ahwatukee Foothills and were heading home at the time of the crash, according to police.

According to court sources, the death in the family will mean a delay of several weeks or more, before jury selection and the trial can get under way.

Smith is charged with one count of second-degree murder, which carries a maximum 22-year sentence, and three counts of aggravated assault, which carry a maximum of 15 years in prison each.

He has been in jail since his release from the hospital shortly after the crash.

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