A young man is charged with manslaughter and evading arrest following a police chase in which he reportedly ran over a man in a sleeping bag near Dallas.
David Martinon, 19, of Irving, was being held in the Grand Prairie Jail on a $500,000 bond after allegedly running over Paul Rummelhart, 58, who died at the scene. The police chase began around 10:30 p.m. on Jan. 11 when officers responded to a possible domestic call.
Police Chase Ends in Tragedy
Witnesses reported to law enforcement authorities that a man and woman appeared to be arguing inside a home and that the man seemed intoxicated. As a police officer arrived on the scene, police reported, Martinon got into a truck and drove away. The officer began a pursuit, which included the suspect crashing through a chain-link fence and driving through a grassy strip to enter Interstate 20.
The suspect was arrested in Dallas, and officers later found the body of Rummelhart in a sleeping bag in the area where the suspect allegedly crashed through the fence. Martinon is charged with evading arrest and manslaughter. He previously had outstanding warrants for resisting arrest, misdemeanor traffic violations and felony evading arrest, according to police.
What Constitutes Manslaughter?
Because the suspect allegedly recklessly caused the death of the victim, he was charged with manslaughter. Why isn’t the suspect charged with murder?
Legal precedent dictates that manslaughter is the criminal act of killing someone without the bad intent — known as malice — necessary for a murder charge. Manslaughter is “less culpable” than murder, as Cornell University Law School notes.
Malice is an essential element for a murder charge, and to establish it, prosecutors need to prove that a defendant killed someone intentionally or recklessly while practicing an “extreme disregard for human life”. Even when a defendant has the necessary mindset required for a murder charge, the defendant is guilty of voluntary manslaughter instead if he killed “in the heat of passion”.
While a manslaughter charge is not as serious as a murder charge, it is classified in Texas as a second-degree felony that is punishable by two to 10 years imprisonment and a fine up to $10,000. In addition, individuals who have previously been convicted of two felonies can be punished with 25 years to life in prison.
If You’re Charged with a Crime, You Need an Experienced Attorney
Being charged with any crime is serious. In addition to possible jail time and fines, criminal charges can result in grave damage to your reputation and your ability to find employment. If you are charged with a crime, don’t leave the outcome to chance. Work with a highly experienced and reputable criminal defense attorney who also has served as a prosecutor. For a free consultation, contact the Hampton Criminal Defense Attorneys, PLLC today at (817) 877-5200 .