Sentencing Friday in Christmas Eve wrong-way crash - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Topstory

default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
|
||
Logout|My Dashboard

Sentencing Friday in Christmas Eve wrong-way crash

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Wednesday, April 14, 2010 11:00 pm

It took the jury just a few hours to decide that 33-year-old Christopher Lee Smith was guilty of second-degree murder and three counts of aggravated assault, all stemming from Christmas Eve 2007 when he drove the wrong way on Pecos Road, while drunk and smashed into a van.

On Friday, Smith will learn his fate.

The maximum penalty for second-degree murder is 22 years in prison. In addition, Judge Sam Myer could add consecutive sentences of five years, minimum, for each of the three aggravated assault charges.

Making Smith’s future even bleaker is the fact that he was on probation for endangerment at the time of the crash.

For prosecutors, the case was simple.

“What makes sense, and logical, and leaves you firmly convinced is that he got drunk, got behind the wheel and killed someone,” Deputy County Attorney Allister Adel told the jury during closing arguments in February.

But the defense had a more exotic explanation of why Smith was driving the wrong way on Pecos Road with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.20 percent, more than double the legal limit.

Charles Shell, Smith’s attorney, told the same jury that the tragedy was not his client’s fault because Smith was driving in his sleep and was unaware of what he was doing.

“The tipping point is sleep,” Shell explained, saying that if his client fell asleep after drinking, his actions were involuntary, and he can’t be held criminally responsible.

“If it’s not voluntary, it’s not criminal,” Shell said.

In Arizona, intoxication is no excuse for a criminal act, and for at least one juror, alcohol was the key.

“It wasn’t really the issue of did we believe the sleep-walking defense,” said the juror who lives in Ahwatukee Foothills and asked that her name not be used. “It didn’t work because both the experts said you can’t take alcohol out of the equation.”

The prosecution pointed to the quick jury decision as a sign that drinking, not sleeping, caused the death of Trang Vo and the injuries to three other family members.

“They clearly said it was an alcohol case, not a sleep-driving case,” said Deputy County Attorney Mike Munoz, one of two prosecutors.

Police say that Smith killed Vo, 34, and seriously injured Nuong Chung, 49, and his wife Tuyet Nguyen, 51, and Chung’s sister, 36-year-old Kiem Chung, as the four were coming home after a special Vietnamese concert on Christmas Eve, when Smith’s Buick Regal ran head-on into their Dodge Caravan, just east of Desert Foothills Parkway.

Chuyng and Nguyen own a nail salon in Ahwatukee Foothills, and their injuries continue to prevent them from returning to work full time, they testified.

Smith had been spending time with his parents in The Foothills that night and allegedly was planning to spend the night. But instead, around 11 p.m. he drove onto Pecos Road, first driving to 27th Avenue, then turning around and driving the wrong way on Pecos Road until the crash.

Sentencing is set for 1:30 April 16 before Myer in Maricopa County Superior Court in downtown Phoenix.

More about

More about

More about

  • Discuss

Air Force to meet South Alabama in the Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - It's South Alabama versus the Air Force Academy in the second annual Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl on December 30. The Cade…

Published: December 4, 2016 - 8:12 pm @ http://www.abc15.com/sports/air-force-to-meet-sout…

Phoenix artists sue to ward off Anti-Christian witch-hunt

report this ad The LGBT mob must be making up for losing the election to Trump by going after more Christians for sport, because that’s what i…

Published: December 4, 2016 - 7:42 pm @ http://therightscoop.com/phoenix-artists-sue-ward-…

Tucson Brunch and Breakfast: 10Best Restaurant Reviews

Save This Page + We've all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Let's hope that's true, because Tucson boasts an impres…

Published: December 4, 2016 - 7:12 pm @ http://www.10best.com/destinations/arizona/tucson/…

What's the future of US for-profit immigrant detention?

Austin, Texas, United States - When Sulma Franco fled her native Guatemala in 2009, she planned to reach the United States and apply for asylu…

Published: December 4, 2016 - 5:34 pm @ http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2016/11/…

Vincent Price Named Duke University 10th President

Vincent Price, provost of the University of Pennsylvania since 2009, has been elected Duke University’s tenth president, announced David Ruben…

Published: December 4, 2016 - 4:03 pm @ https://today.duke.edu/2016/12/presannouncement

How to Make It Super Easy for Prospects to Find You Online

By Jeff Beals Let’s say you Google your own name and very little shows up. Suddenly, you’re worried that you don’t have a widely recognized pe…

Published: December 4, 2016 - 3:38 pm @ https://jeffbeals.com/blog/2016/12/04/how-to-make-…

Report Shows Billions in Raises for Workers Over 4 Years

Here's what we're working on: Donald Trump talked on the phone with the president of Taiwan and that could cause problems with China. Military…

Published: December 4, 2016 - 3:01 pm @ http://www.publicnewsservice.org/2016-11-30/livabl…

States’ Rights for the Left

Mr. Limbaugh had a point: Since the 1930s, progressives have unapologetically embraced Hamiltonian big government. But in rediscovering the vi…

Published: December 4, 2016 - 2:38 pm @ http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/03/opinion/sunday/s…

The backstory on Standing Rock, the federal government, and tribal sovereignty

Police in riot gear forming a wall across a road. Water cannons spraying water protectors in the night. The movement to stop the Dakota Access…

Published: December 4, 2016 - 2:37 pm @ http://grist.org/article/the-backstory-on-standing…

Oculus Rift Touch controllers are about to get 53 times better

The anticipation has been building for the Oculus Rift Touch controllers, the final piece of the hardware puzzle for the Facebook-owned firm a…

Published: December 4, 2016 - 2:36 pm @ http://www.techradar.com/news/oculus-rift-touch-co…

Facebook

ahwatukee.com on Facebook

Twitter

ahwatukee.com on Twitter

RSS

Subscribe to ahwatukee.com via RSS

RSS Feeds

Spacer4px

Most Popular

Online poll

Loading…