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Double DUI Manslaughter Case Delayed in Monroe County

A 30-year-old Marathon man charged with killing two people in a 2009 drunk-driving crash won’t stand trial for at least another six months.

During a pretrial conference Monday for Pierson V., Assistant Public Defender Anthony Barrows told acting Circuit Court Judge Ruth Becker that he needs that amount of time to prepare for trial.

“I’ve completed about 80 percent of the discovery,” Barrows said. He said he plans to interview two lab workers who analyzed Pierson’s toxicology tests following the crash, as well as two paramedics who treated him.

“I need about six more months to get the case ready for trial. I am also working with the state on a potential plea offer that could speed things up a bit,” Barrows said.

Becker suggested putting the case on the September docket for an update. Pierson has been in the Monroe County Detention Center on Stock Island since his arrest on Dec. 10, 2009. He’s being held on $1 million bond.

He’s charged with two counts each of DUI-manslaughter and vehicular homicide, and three counts of DUI-personal injury and property damage with a prior conviction stemming from the Nov. 28, 2009, crash that killed 42-year-old Deborah Mangrum and 34-year-old Christopher J.

Around 9:30 p.m. that night, authorities say Pierson’s 1999 Ford was headed northbound and collided with a 2009 Toyota driven by Marathon resident Mercedes D., 57. It happened on U.S. 1 at 23rd Street.

Troopers say Pierson’s car collided with the left side of Mercedes’ car and continued forward, smashing into Mangrum’s car. Pierson was traveling so fast that his car flipped, troopers said. Mangrum, a mother of four, died at the scene. Christopher died a few days later at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami.

In 2006, Pierson was convicted of drunk driving after being arrested for having a blood alcohol content of more than .20 percent. In Florida, .08 is considered legally drunk.

If you’re not familiar with legal defense in DUI manslaughter cases, you’re probably thinking Pierson will undoubtedly be found guilty. As Florida DUI defense lawyers, we must tell you this is far from the truth. Because the prosecution in cases of this nature must not only prove that Pierson was under the influence that night, they must also prove the defendant contributed to the crash, it’s very hard to find someone guilty of DUI manslaughter.

If you’ve been accused of DUI in Monroe County, call 941-209-1046 to schedule a free legal consultation with an attorney at Musca Law now.