Local News

Man Charged In DWI Death Appears In Court; Mother Of Victim Still Feels 'Deep Loss'

Posted March 12, 2002

— Timothy Blackwell, the man accused of killing a young girl in a DWI accident several years ago, is getting a new trial, but the victim's mother claims he has showed no remorse over her daughter's death.

For Sherry Dail, every day without her daughter, Megan, is a struggle.

"It's tough. It seems like a neverending story," she said. "It's just a deep wound."

Dail was present in the courtroom when Blackwell appeared in court Monday. Acting as his own attorney, Blackwell told the judge that he reconsidered defending himself and asked the judge to provide him with a court-appointed attorney.

Blackwell also asked the judge to have his trial continued and moved out of Durham County.

"There is no way I can proceed with this trial because I'm not qualified," Blackwell said in the courtroom.

The judge denied his requests, saying that Blackwell had voluntarily given up his right to have a court-appointed attorney and had ample time to prepare for his trial.

In 1997, Blackwell crashed into a minivan, killing 4-year-old Megan Dail. Investigators claim Blackwell was drunk and high on heroin. They also found syringes and an open container of alcohol in Blackwell's car.

He was found guilty of first-degree murder, making him the second person in the state and third in the country to be convicted of first-degree murder in a DWI case. The state Supreme Court later overturned his conviction. Now, Blackwell is facing a new trial.

The Durham County district attorney is now charging Blackwell with second-degree murder and a half-dozen lesser charges.

As for the Dail family, they said they only wish their daughter could also have a second chance.

"Right now, it's all about him. It's not the issue at hand that a child is dead," Sherry Dail said.

Although the judge denied Blackwell's request for a court-appointed attorney, he does have access to a stand-by attorney that he can consult with, if needed. In his original conviction, Blackwell was sentenced to life in prison. If he is found guilty in his second trial, he could face up to 50 years in prison.

Jury selection continues Tuesday. The trial is expected to last about two weeks.


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