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STATE v. HENDRICKS — NEW JERSEY MURDER TRIAL — "NOT GUILTY" VERDICT

Mr. Tumelty represented Helena Hendricks, who was charged with first degree murder in Atlantic County Superior Court. The defendant faced a number of additional charges, including armed robbery, conspiracy and possession of a handgun for an unlawful purpose. At the conclusion of a jury trial that lasted three weeks, the defendant was found "not guilty" of all charges.

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Actress sentenced to three years in fatal drunk driving case

New Jersey motorists who are convicted of drunk driving offenses face stiff penalties including license suspension and installation of an ignition interlock device. For the most serious cases, those which involve a fatal drunk driving accident, a motorist could face a long stretch behind bars. Recently, a high-profile case resulted in a three-year prison sentence for an actress who was found guilty on charges stemming from a New Jersey accident in which a woman was killed and a man seriously injured.

A court sentenced Amy Locane-Bovenizer, formerly of the program “Melrose Place,” to three years for vehicular homicide and assault by auto. The charges arose from a June 2010 accident in which prosecutors said she drove her SUV into a vehicle that was headed into a driveway in Montgomery Township. Her blood-alcohol content was almost three times the legal limit at the time of the accident, prosecutors said.

Locane-Bovenizer faced up to 15 years in prison. However, the judge gave her a reduced sentence, noting that she has two young daughters, including a 4-year-old who has health issues. The family of the woman killed in the accident shouted in protest at the hearing.

The actress was acquitted of the more serious charge of aggravated manslaughter last fall.

In New Jersey, a driver who has been accused of an accident-related crime, such as vehicular homicide, may face those charges in addition to any DWI charges. As part of the resolution of the criminal case, the driver may still face the remaining DWI penalties, such as license suspension, community service and even further jail time.

While many of the circumstances of Locane-Bovenizer’s case are unusual, the charges stemming from the case against her may resemble many New Jersey cases involving fatal accidents and allegations of drunk driving. The penalties in these cases are very harsh and the accused must have a very strong defense.

Source: NJ.com, “‘Melrose Place’ actress sentenced to 3 years for drunken crash that killed Montgomery woman,” Bill Wichert, Feb. 14, 2013

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