Appeals Court Overturns Murder Conviction in DWI Case
Posted January 15, 2008 11:48 a.m. EST
Updated July 7, 2010 5:37 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — 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.