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Appeals Court Overturns Murder Conviction in DWI Case

Posted January 15, 2008
Updated July 7, 2010

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— A man sentenced to at least 50 years in prison for killing a woman in a drunken-driving wreck will get a new trial, the North Carolina Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.

In a 2-1 decision, the court said Kenneth Wayne Maready is entitled to a new trial on the charge of second-degree murder because the trial court "allowed foregoing evidence to establish malice.”

“Although [Maready] had four convictions for driving while impaired within the 16 years prior to the date of the offense in the present case, the trial court allowed the introduction of several other convictions that were too remote in time,” the ruling stated.

The majority opinion also said the jurors in the trial should not have been allowed to consider Maready's intent on several of the charges in the case based on his past.

The state has 30 days to appeal the court's ruling.

Maready was sentenced to 30 years on the second-degree murder charge and at least 20 years for other charges, including assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury, felony fleeing/eluding arrest with a motor vehicle, driving while impaired and misdemeanor larceny.

Maready's blood-alcohol level was more than three times the legal limit in February 2005, Durham police said, when he stole a car, fled from deputies who had pulled him over and crashed into a pickup truck driven by 61-year-old Kay Stokes.

Stokes died in the accident. Her 5-year-old granddaughter was hurt.

At the time of the accident, Maready had a revoked driver's license and six drunken-driving convictions on his record.

Stokes' brother, Calvin Parrott, said he and his family are frustrated and upset the conviction was overturned. He said facing Maready in court again is something they should not have to bear.

"Why couldn't he live a normal life, like everyone else?" Parrot said, adding Maready's history is something he finds hard to ignore.

"I live with this every day," he said.


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  • nghtstarz2 Jan 16, 2008

    It is too bad we can not change the laws and deal differently with the criminals. If the time we took to write these posts were spent writing and placing calls to our legislators, maybe we would see change. The only way we can change things is to take out the people who are making the laws that allow criminals to go free. God help the family of the victim and the child, I hope they find peace eventually but it is unlikely with the case being retried over and over. Go to the polls, VOTE! Write and call your legislators! Tell them enough is enough. The general population is tired of fearing for our lives because we can not protect ourselves without reprisal. The criminals have no fear of public censure of their community, which was a factor many years ago, or fear of jail and punishment. The public has to insist on change through the legislation or experience an increase in vigilante events. Support your police officers! Remember Megan Dail and her family!

  • 3potato4 Jan 16, 2008

    So, at this guys original trial, the outcome is a 50 year sentence...then, at his second trial, the outcome is 30 years plus 20 for other charges, hence, a 50 year sentence. I would like to know what the combined total cost was for the 2 trials and then for this man to work it off from prison.

  • cb78nc Jan 16, 2008

    I am a law enforcement officer in NC, and I personally arrested this man 6 months before he killed this lady. At the time, he had just returned to NC from out of state. His driving history was many pages long, he was speeding, and I did arrest him at that time. He spend some time in prision for Driving While License Revoked, then gets out and kills this lady. No matter what happens, when this man gets out of prision, he will drive again, and drink and drive again.

  • BlowupDollWithChatAmbitions Jan 15, 2008

    I;m sorry, but I feel this man deserves nothing. Especially a new trial. The laws in NC concerning drunken driving are too easy to get around and way too lenient in my opinion. Even the ones that were put in place when Jim Hunt was governor, that any person caught 3 times in 5 years (or was it vice versa?) will automatically pull 2 years in prison. My ex has at least 16 DUI charges and at least 5 of those were in 3 years aftewr the law came into effect, yet has only pulled 2 weeks WITH work release. Chalk it up to a darn good law firm who "supports" the judges runs for election when the time comes around. say leave him there and let him rot!

  • dcatz Jan 15, 2008

    It seems like their are fewer and fewer judges left these days that actually understand the law.

    Malice aforethought, the mens rea requirement for murder, does not require an intent to kill. An individual who willfully acts in a manner dangerous to other people can be said to have shown a depraved indifference to human life which meets the requirements for malice aforethought and a murder charge.

  • Like that Jan 15, 2008

    Yeah that is setting a fine example! Are they going to overturn all those type of convictions? It is obvious that the previous charges did not deter this mans behavior, now he has a deterrant...PRISON!

  • dogmama Jan 15, 2008

    Lock him up and throw away the key. Maybe he can stay sober that way and not kill people.

  • busyb97 Jan 15, 2008

    another news channel just said that they also said that the evidence in the night of the accident was not oging to be allowed because the cops didn't have 'probable cause' to pull him over in the first place! WHAT??! If they didn't have probable cause, then how come cops can get away with 'checkpoints'. My area cops do it all the time just outside the entrance of our neighborhood(which is right on the edge of town). You don't have to blow, but they ask if you've had anything to drink (We can hear them from our house). How is THAT probable cause? This is just c**p! His records should go towards a 'pattern of behavior' and blatant disregard for ANY punishment other than life in prison.

  • Huey Jan 15, 2008

    Like I been saying - our judicial system now is a joke. Why bother
    wasting your time serving on a jury? It's just a game now so the
    lawyers can grab all the money they can get for as long as they
    can get it. I can't believe they live in the same world we do and
    their loved ones drive on the same streets we do etc.

  • purrcard Jan 15, 2008

    The justice system in NC and our Country needs to be overhauled; this guy had no license to be operating a vehicle in the first place with 4 previous DUI's. I also feel a jury should be allowed to hear the entire history on an accused, for sentencing purposes.