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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
talk about messed up logic.......

Man convicted in drunken driving fatal

By Julie Manganis

Staff writer

A serial drunken driver from Peabody is facing up to 15 years in prison after he was found guilty yesterday of vehicular homicide while driving drunk and recklessly, killing his girlfriend a little more than two years ago.

It took a Lawrence Superior Court jury just three hours to convict Peter Anketell, 42, of causing the death of Cynthia Wilson, 40, of Salem, back on May 31, 2002, in Marblehead. The jury rejected his defense -- that it was Wilson who was driving that night, not Anketell.

Though jurors were not told about it, Anketell's long record of drinking and driving -- 12 convictions over 25 years -- is likely to be a factor when he is sentenced on July 27.

It was shortly before 11 p.m. when Anketell, who was traveling twice the speed limit, sideswiped two other vehicles on Tedesco Street, bounced off a curb and then hit a sign pole before slamming into a tree, a state police trooper testified.

There was no indication that Anketell responded to any of the impacts -- there were no skid marks from braking and no indication that he tried to steer away from the other vehicles, Trooper Kerry Alvino testified.

The impact, which was more severe on the passenger side, threw Wilson against the dashboard of the truck. The impact severed her aorta, causing massive internal bleeding, which killed her.

Defense lawyer William O'Hare argued that Wilson, in the seconds she would have had after her aorta was severed, managed to crawl at least partly toward the passenger door, but died before she could make it out of the badly damaged truck. He also argued that her injuries were more consistent with hitting the steering wheel than a dashboard.

And he argued that Wilson, who was found to have both alcohol and cocaine in her bloodstream, was probably more alert than Anketell and therefore more likely to be the one behind the wheel.

"Miss Wilson was clearly badly hurt at the scene," O'Hare argued, "and immediately people assumed he was the driver. Who wants to blame the victim? It's not an easy thing to do. It's a matter of conscience, and that's what I'm asking you to do."

'Defies physics'

But prosecutor William Melkonian argued that the defense theory defied the laws of physics.

Noting where Wilson was found, on the passenger side of the truck, and where Anketell was seated, nearer the driver's side, with his feet near the pedals, Melkonian told jurors, "It is not possible in our universe for these two to move in opposite directions.

"All of the witnesses made observations that the defendant's feet were under the steering wheel. Only his upper torso was between the two bucket seats," the prosecutor continued.

And the dashboard on the passenger side received "massive damage" that was consistent with Wilson's injuries, the prosecutor said.

Meanwhile, Anketell was so drunk, the prosecutor reminded jurors, that police and hospital staff could not trust him to stand on his own two feet when he went to the men's room. (A blood test revealed that he had a blood alcohol level more than twice the legal limit).

And there was Anketell's statement to police at the hospital: "I'm in a lot of trouble now," he told Marblehead police Detective Marion Keating.

Judge Diane Kottmyer postponed sentencing so that she could have time to look at sentencing guidelines first.

None of either Anketell's or Wilson's relatives or friends attended the four-day trial, though a victim advocate was in contact with members of Wilson's family.

Wilson was a recent grandmother just one week shy of her 41st birthday when she was killed.

Jurors did clear Anketell of charges of receiving a stolen vehicle -- the Ford pickup truck that he was driving when it crashed. That truck had been reported stolen by a Salem man just 30 to 40 minutes before the crash on Tedesco Street near the Salem line.

Staff writer Julie Manganis can be reached at (978) 338-2521 or by e-mail at [email protected].

Posted Fri 16 Jul, 2004 14:02:

And he argued that Wilson, who was found to have both alcohol and cocaine in her bloodstream, was probably more alert than Anketell and therefore more likely to be the one behind the wheel.


Now there is a rock steady defense!!!!!!! :roll:
 

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These 'law-whores' will try anything...and unfortunately the 'box-of-rocks' will usually believe anything. Not this time, though.

The positions of the occupants, post impact, can illustrate their positions in the vehicle pre-impact. The science is known as 'occupant kinematics' (76-9 in 'the blue books'), and that particular trooper is an adept inre: human engineering! One could also get a warrant for the pedals/foot wear, air bags, blood, etc. to place the responsible party at the wheel. It's just a lot of extra work because citizens in our modern society will not take responsiblity for their actions.

In any event, keep this in mind should you run into an incident like this: preserve the evidence! You never know what might be pertinent to your case.
 

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One of the latest crash reconstruction investigative tool that is widely used in England, unsure if we are doing it in the US, is DNA. In a few England cases, DNA from saliva and/or blood were retrieved off the steering wheel, airbag to determine operation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Man gets 12 to 14 years for Marblehead fatal

By Julie Manganis

Staff writer

A Peabody man with a long history of drinking and driving was sentenced to 12 to 14 years in prison yesterday for killing his girlfriend in a drunken driving accident in 2002.

Judge Diane Kottmyer said it was the only way to protect the public from Peter Anketell, who has 12 prior convictions for drunken driving.

"The court cannot have any assurance that Mr. Anketell won't drive when he drinks," Kottmyer said yesterday in Lawrence Superior Court. "And there's simply no way to protect the public from that combination except a lengthy incarceration."

She urged Anketell to use his time in prison to "come to terms with the fact that he cannot drink, and with the damage that he has done."

Anketell, 42, was convicted by a jury two weeks ago in the death of his girlfriend, 40-year-old Cynthia Wilson of Salem, on May 31, 2002. Wilson was the passenger in a stolen pickup truck that Anketell was driving down Tedesco Street, on the Salem/Marblehead line.

Anketell, who was nearly incoherent and had a blood alcohol level more than twice the legal limit, veered across the yellow lines, sideswiped two vehicles, and then took down a sign pole before crashing into a tree.

The impact severed Wilson's aorta, killing her within seconds, a medical examiner testified.

As was the case during Anketell's trial, no one from either Anketell's or Wilson's families came to court yesterday. Only Marblehead Police Detective Marion Keating, who led the investigation, watched the brief hearing.

'Horrendous' record

The judge's sentence was slightly less than the 14 to 15 years sought by prosecutor William Melkonian. Melkonian pointed to Anketell's "horrendous" driving record -- 12 prior convictions for drunken driving in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, a 13th arrest in Florida that was never adjudicated, and the fatal accident that killed Wilson, as well as a string of other traffic offenses. That merited a sentence close to the maximum of 15 years, he argued.

Melkonian also described a similar incident involving Anketell and Wilson a month before the fatal crash. In April 2002, Anketell was allegedly at the wheel of a stolen pickup truck when he led police on a chase down Route 1 through Peabody, then bailed out on foot. Wilson identified him as the driver.

During his trial, Anketell's lawyer, William O'Hare, had tried to convince jurors that it was Wilson who was driving, not Anketell. Yesterday, he described Anketell and Wilson as "partners in crime," and said Wilson should have known what to expect when she got into the truck with Anketell. But he also said her death "is something Peter will have to live with the rest of his life."

"He had no intent to cause any harm to Miss Wilson that night," said O'Hare.

O'Hare described his client's lifelong struggle with alcohol. Peter Anketell, the youngest of three boys, started drinking in his teens -- following an example set by his father, whom O'Hare described as an alcoholic.

While his older brothers settled down and started families, Anketell bounced between brief jail stints and "relatively menial jobs," such as painting and running machines.

As his lawyer spoke, Anketell wiped away tears.

"When Peter is not intoxicated, he is a completely different person," O'Hare said.

Failed to sober up

Anketell has made some efforts to stay sober over the years -- he once spent six months at Longwood Hospital, and later did a month in a similar program after another arrest. But he always went back to drinking.

His lawyer asked for a sentence within the sentencing guidelines of 5 to 7 1/2 years.

The judge was sympathetic. "The court realizes that alcoholism is a disease, and the court also realizes that Mr. Anketell did not set out to hurt anyone," Kottmyer said.

But she was not swayed by the suggestion that Wilson may have contributed to her own demise, pointing out that Anketell could easily have killed other drivers that night.

And she noted that the sentencing guidelines cited by O'Hare take into account only "six or more" prior drunken driving convictions. "Mr. Anketell is well over six or more," she said.

Anketell received credit for the more than two years he has been held in jail, unable to make bail. But he'll have to spend at least another decade behind bars before he is eligible for parole.

Anketell's driver's license had been revoked at the time of the crash, but Melkonian said the Registry of Motor Vehicles plans to revoke his license permanently.

Staff writer Julie Manganis can be reached at (978) 338-2521 or by e-mail at [email protected].
 
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