Manslaughter case ends in mistrial

New leads prompt February trial date

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— 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.

- To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234

or e-mail adelacruz@steamboatpilot.com

Comments

id04sp 8 years ago

Okay, a Viper is not a cheap ride. This guy has some bucks.

Very interesting that the "new evidence" which could have been disclosed was held until the trial opened.

Hey, Pilot; how about a more in-depth story on the driver of the Viper? How long has he lived in the area, what did he do for a living, etc? (What's the problem; is his family "connected" with the real estate business or something?)

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Tigger 8 years ago

Don't rely on the pilot for gossip i.e. get a life. Also, a car does not represent your "bucks". People go into debt for cars. Also, so what if he has "bucks". The accused deserves a fair trial regardless of 'bucks". Someone lost a son, be respectful to the situation. It is not the duty of the local paper to release or investigate privileged information.

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id04sp 8 years ago

Thanks for confirming my suspicions.

Who, living on those gravel roads up in the Willow Creek Pass subdivision up in Clark, would own a Viper? Pretty expensive toy to ding up on rocks, etc., and not a great choice for winter driving on those roads. A car that MSRPs for $80k probably is not the only one he owned.

Go to the Routt County web site and look up his property records, mortgages, home equity loans, etc. This guy has a nice source of income or he wouldn't be able to encumber his home for almost $250k in financing and still put it up as security for a $25,000 bond. (It's amazing what you can find if you know where to look). Ain't no rumors listed there, Tigger.

Yes, he certainly does deserve a fair trial. Judge Hill did the right thing. So did the Grand County DA. It's just pretty convenient that this issue came up on the opening day of the trial.

So what are they going to do? Claim the passenger died of suicide for refusing a transfusion? I can't wait to see how this one comes out.

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