Jury finds Steamboat Springs man not guilty of manslaughter
August 11, 2017
A Steamboat Springs man was acquitted late Friday afternoon of a manslaughter charge related to the death of his girlfriend.
The jury deliberated for five hours before handing down the not guilty verdict.
Jurors also found Darin Robert Dickey not guilty of a lesser offense of criminally negligent homicide related to the death of Sarah Lay, 39.
Darin Dickey hugged his attorneys after the jury's decision was revealed.
He said he had no comment as he left the courtroom.
An autopsy showed Lay died July 5, 2016, from a subdural hemorrhage due to blunt force trauma to the head.
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Dickey was arrested last year and charged with manslaughter related to Lay’s death.
Prosecutors argued that Lay died after Dickey yanked her off of a bed, causing her to hit her head on an armoire in what became a fatal injury.
Prosecutors claimed Dickey was upset because he discovered Lay passed out in Dickey's brother's bed.
District Attorney Brett Barkey painted the case as one of "jealousy and anger."
Public defender Kate Bush told the jury earlier this week that, while Lay's death was a tragedy, Dickey did not fly into a violent, jealous rage, as the prosecution alleged.
Bush said Dickey was devastated by Lay's death and searched for answers as to what happened.
Dickey's attorney's also argued that Lay hit her head another time, which could have caused the hemorrhage.
Following the not guilty verdict, Barkey extended condolences to Lay's family and said more needed to be done in the community to prevent a similar tragedy in the future.
"We greatly appreciate the jury's close attention to this case and respect their decision. Sadly, this case is an example of the potentially fatal consequences of unaddressed alcohol abuse and domestic violence," Barkey said in a news release. "Despite the dedicated efforts of so many in Routt County, we still have more to do as a community to prevent these tragedies from occurring in the first place."
Police suspected Lay and both of the Dickey brothers had been drinking heavily before the incident.
Forensic pathologist Michael Burson told jurors earlier this week that Lay's blood alcohol content was .225 when it was measured at the hospital, and alcohol intoxication could have contributed to the events leading to Lay's injury.