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January 3, 2014 at 3:43 PM

Troubled prosecution means no prison time for man who struck, killed teen

Evidence problems and an adverse ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court led to a plea agreement that is sending a 21-year-old Buckley man to jail instead of prison for running down a 16-year-old boy in October 2012 while under the influence of marijuana and oxycodone.

Cody Money, an electrician, was originally charged with felony vehicular homicide and faced time in prison in connection with the Oct. 31, 2012, death of Justin Relethford, who was struck while walking with his girlfriend on the shoulder of Highway 410 near Enumclaw, according to court records.

However, problems with the case led prosecutors to allow him to plead guilty to reckless driving, reckless endangerment and DUI — all gross misdemeanors — on Dec. 4, said Dan Donohoe, a spokesman for King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg.

Donohoe explained that a state trooper trained as a drug-recognition expert evaluated Money and determined he was not impaired. Officials drew a sample of his blood anyway and found that he had nearly twice the legal level of THC, the psycho-active ingredient in marijuana, in his system. He also had taken oxycodone, a prescription narcotic pain killer.

The arresting officer did not obtain a warrant before drawing Money’s blood, which was significant because the U.S. Supreme Court  in a 5-4 ruling last April narrowed the circumstances in which law-enforcement officers can obtain blood samples without first obtaining a search warrant.

Donohoe said prosecutors determined the Supreme Court precedent applied in Money’s case and that the blood evidence would not be admissible. Donohoe said prosecutors obtained the best result they felt they could under the circumstances.

After Money finishes serving his jail sentence, he will be required to serve six months on enhanced CCAP, a county program that requires participants to report daily and undergo random tests for drug and alcohol consumption. Money was also ordered to undergo drug and alcohol treatment, Donohoe said.

0 Comments | Topics: auto-pedestrial, vehicle homicide

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