Archive for Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Morgan appeals convictions in U.S. 59 hit-and-run murders

December 3, 2008

A woman convicted of two counts of reckless second-degree murder for running over and killing two highway workers south of Lawrence in 2007 is appealing her conviction.

Ramona Morgan, 49, of Chewelah, Wash., was sentenced in November to serve 26 years in prison for the deaths of Ty Korte, 30, of Seneca, and Rolland Griffith, 24, of El Dorado, and for injuring a third worker, Curtis Delzell, also of El Dorado.

During her trial earlier this year, witnesses testified that Morgan drove around a pilot car twice at a U.S. Highway 59 work zone south of Lawrence on Sept. 11, 2007. The second time she struck Korte and Griffith, and law enforcement officers had to puncture the tires of her pickup truck in Osage County after a chase to get her to stop.

Morgan claimed she thought she was being chased by a gang of robbers after a dispute over some property she intended to buy in Missouri the day before. Morgan has denied she struck the workers and instead said she ran over construction equipment.

But prosecutors convinced jurors that Morgan showed “an extreme indifference to the value of human life” as she sped to 51 mph when the workers were struck.

District Judge Paula Martin has signed an order declaring Morgan indigent, meaning she can have an appointed attorney to appeal her conviction and prison sentence.

Morgan also faces a civil lawsuit from a fourth worker, Amanda Hopper, who claims she was injured during the ordeal.

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