Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Steamboat Springs A scheduled three-day trial for a former Clark man accused of reckless manslaughter ended abruptly Monday after attorneys received information that the victim in the case refused a blood transfusion after sustaining critical
injuries from the car accident.
Steamboat Springs attorney Charles Feldmann, who is representing Daniel Robbins, 31, said Tuesday that Grand County Chief Deputy District Attorney Dan Edwards received information from a Colorado State Patrol trooper that Jeffery Harris of Clark, the
victim in the accident, refused a blood transfusion after being injured in the June 2005
accident. Harris later died.
Because the new information "might or might not change the tenor of the case," Feldmann made a motion to the end the trial to allow more to investigate.
District Judge Shelley Hill granted Feldmann's motion and scheduled a new trial to begin Feb. 12.
Robbins is facing a felony charge of reckless manslaughter, which is punishable by as many as six years in prison and a fine of as much as $500,000.
Feldmann said he appreciated Edwards' "honesty and integrity" in bringing the trooper's information to his attention before the trial began.
Robbins was arrested in June 2005 after he reportedly lost control of the 2005 Dodge Viper he was driving south of Kremmling on Colorado Highway 9. The car struck a guardrail, crashed and killed 22-year-old passenger Harris.
Feldmann said the trooper had "either spoken to or obtained information" from an EMS worker who flew Harris to Denver to be treated for his injuries. During the flight, it is alleged that Harris refused a blood transfusion because of his religious beliefs.
Tom Williams, a friend of the Harris family, said the mistrial is not a setback.
"If the defense wants to (take time to investigate) this, that's fine," he said.
Williams, who was in court Monday, said the jury had just been selected for the trial when the new information was presented and the trial was ended.
Edwards could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
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