Three New Yorkers convicted of murder as a result of car crashes while driving impaired are asking the New York Court of Appeals to throw out their convictions, according to The Associated Press. In a strange irony, Martin Heidgen, Taliyah Taylor and Franklin McPherson's defense for killing someone while impaired is hinged on the fact that they were too impaired to be convicted.
The prosecution's contention they acted with "depraved indifference to human life" in fatal crashes that share a number of common threads: driving too fast in the wrong lane while under the influence.
Defense attorneys argued prosecutors failed to prove their clients acted with depraved indifference and, in fact, their clients were too impaired to know what they were doing.
Heidgen's attorney, Jillian Harrington, said her client had gotten lost when he drove his pickup the wrong way on Long Island's Meadowbrook State Parkway in 2005 and hit a limousine, killing the driver, and 7-year-old passenger and injuring five others.
"We have no proof he realized he was going in the wrong direction," she told the Court of Appeals.
Heidgen had a blood alcohol content of 0.28 percent, police said. Nassau County Assistant District Attorney Maureen McCormick urged the court to uphold the juries' conclusions in the cases.
All three drivers were also convicted of lesser charges ranging from reckless endangerment to vehicular manslaughter that were not contested in the appeals. A midlevel court upheld all three murder convictions.
The Court of Appeals rulings are expected next month.
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Sherri Rae Rasmussen 2/7/1957 - 2/24/1986
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