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Drunken driver denied new trial in fatal wreck

Posted December 12, 2008
Updated July 7, 2010

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— The state Supreme Court on Friday overturned an appellate court's ruling granting a new trial to a man convicted of murder in a 2005 drunken-driving wreck.

Kenneth Wayne Maready was convicted of second-degree murder in the Feb. 13, 2005, death of Kay Stokes. He was sentenced to at least 50 years in prison, including 20 years on other charges in the case.

Police said Maready's blood-alcohol level was more than three times the allowable level when he stole a car, fled from deputies who had pulled him over and crashed into a pickup. Stokes, 61, died in the wreck, and her 5-year-old granddaughter was hurt.

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

The state Court of Appeals overturned the conviction in January, ruling that the initial traffic stop was unlawful, that some of Maready's convictions were too old to have been considered as evidence in the trial and that the trial judge gave improper instructions to jurors.

The court ordered that Maready receive a new trial in the case.

The Supreme Court reversed that ruling, saying there was enough evidence to support Durham County deputies' attempt to pull over Maready. Justices split on whether older DWI convictions should have been allowed and whether the judge's instructions were proper.

The case will be sent back to the Court of Appeals to address other claims of judicial error that weren't previously addressed.

10 Comments

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  • PearlMonteverde Dec 12, 2008

    And my tax money is paying for this?

  • Proud Young Grandma Dec 12, 2008

    He needs to be thankful all he got was 50 years.

  • Scubagirl Dec 12, 2008

    why should he even think he could get a new trial. Lock him up for a long time.

  • Leftwing Dec 12, 2008

    Throw away the key for this guy. Enjoy life in jail.

  • CSMs Alter Ego Dec 12, 2008

    "I also want the the tailgaters, speed-demons and reckless drivers that are sober treated the same way."

    Speed-demons should get 50 years? Eh?

  • ranquick Dec 12, 2008

    he should not get new trail, time to pay for crime at hand

  • readerman Dec 12, 2008

    Rant on funstuff. I agree completely.

  • whatelseisnew Dec 12, 2008

    I also want the the tailgaters, speed-demons and reckless drivers that are sober treated the same way. There are more of them and they are just as dangerous.

  • cabswife Dec 12, 2008

    It's a shame it takes this many charges and a death to put him away for this long. If they started locking drunk drivers up, maybe more people would think before driving drunk. Everyone just gets a slap on the wrist over, and over, and over....

  • funstuffhere Dec 12, 2008

    What is it gonna take to keep these drunk "Motorist-Murderers" OFF the streets? Six DUI convictions and a revoked license was obviously not enough. How about this: get drunk, drive, kill an innocent and GO TO JAIL...loooooong term the first time, not the 3rd, 4th etc. And stop wasting the courts time and resources on technicalities, GUILTY is GUILTY! Do the crime, pay the time!

    I've lost two very dear friends to drunk drivers, so yes, I AM upset about these continuing crimes against society.

    Rant over.