Woman found guilty in Shockoe Bottom hit-and-run
RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – The woman accused of running over two men in Shockoe Bottom was found guilty by a judge Tuesday.
[Sandra Jones will have the latest on this developing story on CBS 6 News starting at 5 p.m.]
Jennifer Slemp, 37, was found guilty of leaving the scene of an accident involving injury or death.
Sentencing for Slemp, who was released on bond, is scheduled for Nov. 7 at 1 p.m. She faces up to 10 years in prison.
Slemp was arraigned in May for the crash that killed 25-year-old David Boyd and badly injured Brendon Ellis.
Slemp, along with her two lawyers, opted out of a jury trial, instead allowing Circuit Court Judge Buford Parsons to decide her fate in the felony case.
During opening statements Slemp’s attorneys argued the prosecution had two issues. First they would have to prove Slemp was actually the one responsible for the fatal hit-and-run. And secondly, the defense said the Commonwealth would also have to prove without a doubt if Slemp was the one driving the hit-and-run vehicle, that she was knowledgeable she hit bot the deceased victim David Boyd, 25, and Brendon Ellis, before fleeing the scene.
More than a dozen witnesses for both the prosecution and the defense are set to take to the stand. Already a first responder and two eyewitness have testified.
One eyewitness, actually caught much of the April 21 incident on cell phone video. In the video you can see and hear a fight spilling out into East Canal Street. The two victims were seen falling into the street. Moments later a car horn sounds and the the situation appears to become even more hysterical–as witnesses began yelling a passing car ran over the heads of the victims. Suddenly the person filming the final moments of David Boyd’s life, suddenly put the cellphone camera down.
The amateur video was played several times in court, causing the victim’s family–who was present–to become extremely emotional.
Court documents indicate Slemp’s Honda Accord struck both men in the head. The documents also indicate Slemp told police she was unaware she hit anyone. However witnesses reportedly told investigators Slemp’s car slowed after the collision before leaving the scene.
“In a case like that in the city where it’s not likely that you are hitting a deer or some other sort of animal, when you come into contact with someone there’s really no reason why you would speed off like that,” said CBS 6 legal analyst Todd Stone. “So I think the evidence is going to be circumstantial as to her intent at the time. Did she know she hit somebody? It’s in the city, there are a lot of people around, so I would suspect that’s what they are going to testify to.”
Stone said it still remains to be seen if the case even goes to trial.
“You never plead guilty to something and work out a plea negotiation, unless you are getting something better than what you think you are going to get if you go to trial,” said Stone. “So in this case, if they think they can get some sort of sentence that’s better than what they would get if they go to trial then I would expect that they may plead guilty. Since we don’t really know what the witnesses may say, it’s really hard to judge what they may do.”
Stay with WTVR.com for new details on this developing story.