Local News

Parents Continue Search For Justice In Death Of 4-Year-Old Megan Dail

Posted October 29, 2002

— A man is on trial in Durham for the third time. Timothy Blackwell is charged with second-degree murder in connection with a drunken driving crash that killed a young girl nearly six years ago.

The girl's parents said it has become their personal mission to make sure Blackwell does not hurt anyone else.

Blackwell is back in court for the death of Megan Dail. In court Monday after looking at Blackwell's three-month evaluation at Dorothea Dix Hospital, Judge Orlando Hudson determined that Blackwell is competent enough to stand trial.

Blackwell's lawyer withdrew the insanity defense for his client. Blackwell intends to plead not guilty.

In 1997, police said Blackwell was under the influence of drugs and alcohol when his vehicle collided with a minivan, killing 4-year-old Megan. Police said they found an open container of alcohol and syringes in Blackwell's vehicle.

Blackwell was later found guilty of first-degree murder, but his conviction was overturned by the state Supreme Court. In March 2002, Blackwell's second trial ended in a mistrial after a juror made a comment referring to his previous conviction.

Megan's parents, Greg and Sherry Dail, were present in the courtroom Monday. They have followed Timothy Blackwell from one courtroom to another over the last five years because they feel it is their duty.

"To get him off the road and have other people safe from him is worth us going through it again," said Sherry Dail, Megan's mother. "I relive it everyday of my life."

At the time of the crash, Blackwell had five previous convictions for driving under the influence or driving while impaired, along with 20 convictions for driving with a revoked license.

"The thing is he (Blackwell) doesn't realize it's not all about him. It's about innocent people...victims. They're a lot of times forgotten," Sherry Dail said.

The Dails admit the thought of a third trial is daunting, but even so, they said they will be in court every day.

"I still have people come up to me and say they're sorry for all we went through and just know that we made a difference in their life," Sherry Dail said.

Jury selection began Monday morning. The case is expected to last about three weeks. If convicted, Blackwell could face up to 30 years in jail.

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