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Overturned murder conviction in DWI case goes before Supreme Court

Kenneth Wayne Maready was convicted of second-degree murder in death of Kay Stokes, who was killed in a traffic wreck. An appellate court threw out the conviction.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The state Supreme Court heard arguments Monday in the case of a man whose murder conviction in a 2005 drunken-driving wreck was overturned on appeal.

Kenneth Wayne Maready was convicted of second-degree murder two years ago 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 legal limit 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 some of Maready's convictions were too old to have been considered as evidence in the trial.

In addition to arguing that point to Supreme Court justices Monday, his attorneys also contended that the initial traffic stop was unconstitutional. A woman flagged down Durham County deputies to complain about someone driving erratically, but the deputies never independently verified the erratic driving before pulling Maready over, the attorneys said.


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