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Retrial begins for man charged in fatal police chase

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CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- The retrial for the Richmond man accused of killing a 73-year-old man in a police chase in 2013  got underway Monday in Chesterfield County.

Karon Porter, 27,  was re-arraigned on four felony charges: felony murder, hit and run, eluding police and possession of a schedule one or two controlled substance.  He pleaded not guilty to all of them.

Police said that  Porter sped away from troopers attempting to pull him over for an equipment violation in March of 2013. Investigators said Porter sideswiped two cars, ran a red light and smashed into a third car at the intersection of Midlothian Turnpike and Moorefield Park Drive in Chesterfield.

The driver of the third car, 73-year-old George Van Orden of Midlothian, died the next day. Family members said Van Order was a Marine and Vietnam veteran.

As a result, Porter was charged with felony murder.

"If it's an accidental killing that happens during the commission of a felonious offense, then it's a felony murder," CBS 6 legal analyst Todd Stone said. "It's treated the same as a second degree murder, and you can get up to 40 years in prison,” said Stone.

Porter was also charged with eluding police, hit and run, obstruction of justice and assault and battery.

His murder trial last year ended in a mistrial.

"It's a new jury. It's a new trial. They do it all over again,” Stone said.

Stone said a retrial can benefit the defense.

"The prosecutor has the burden to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt. On the second go around, everybody gets to prepare and they have transcripts that they can use to cross-examine witnesses,” said Stone.

According to court records, Porter was previously charged with a long list of traffic offenses before the 2013 incident. Those charges include eluding police, hit and run, DUI and driving with a suspended license.

"Those are things that, if he is convicted, then they can be used at sentencing. Also if he testifies and takes the stand, some of the prior convictions can be used to impeach his credibility,” Stone said.

Porter’s mother told CBS 6 reporter Claudia Rupcich that “he’s a good son and a loving father.”

The felony murder charge that Porter faces is treated as a second-degree murder charge that can carry up to 40 years in prison.

The new trial is expected to last at least three days.

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