Blackwell Sentenced To More Than 39 Years In Prison In DWI Case
Posted November 14, 2002 1:45 a.m. EST
DURHAM, N.C. — Timothy Blackwell was sentenced to more than 39 years in prison for the death of 4-year-old Megan Dail.
A jury found Blackwell guilty of second-degree murder Wednesday in Dail's death in an auto accident six years ago. Blackwell's attorney said he plans to appeal the decision.
Jurors heard closing arguments Wednesday before they began their deliberations. Two hours into their deliberations, jurors returned to the courtroom, asking the judge for clarification about the definition of second-degree murder.
After hearing from the judge, jurors then continued to deliberate and later told the judge they had reached a verdict.
Jurors found Blackwell guilty of all 11 charges he faced. After the verdict, Blackwell got up and asked the judge if he could address Greg and Sherry Dail.
Blackwell told the Dails he was sorry for his actions before he broke down and started crying.
Judge Orlando Hudson had strong words for Blackwell after the verdict.
"I hope you never drive an automobile anywhere ever in your life," he said.
The Dail family had said all along that they wanted justice for Megan.
"Maybe, he is truly sorry. It's bad that it took a crash and losing our first child for him to realize it," Greg Dail said.
"The purpose of her life, I want it to be she made a difference in awareness to drinking and driving," Sherry Dail said.
Prosecutors said Blackwell was under the influence of drugs and alcohol when his pickup truck collided with the Dails' minivan in 1997, killing Megan. Defense attorneys claimed Blackwell was tired and fatigued when the accident occurred.
Blackwell had four prior DWI convictions before the accident.
Blackwell was found guilty of first-degree murder in 1998, 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.