Archive for Monday, September 8, 2008

Defense rests in trial of woman accused of killing U.S. 59 workers

September 8, 2008

The defense rested at 10 a.m. Monday in the murder trial of a Washington state woman accused of striking and killing two highway workers one year ago in Douglas County.

After calling a couple of witnesses this morning, Ramona Morgan's defense attorney, Billy Rork, said he had no more evidence to present. Prosecutors did not call any rebuttal witnesses.

The two sides then began meeting with District Judge Paula Martin to finalize the jury instructions, which will be read to jurors later Monday morning before closing arguments.

Prosecutors accuse Morgan, 49, of twice driving through a construction zone on Sept. 11, 2007, on U.S. Highway 59 near Pleasant Grove and striking and killing construction workers Tyrone Korte, 30, of Seneca, and Rolland Griffith, 24, of El Dorado.

Morgan testified Friday in her defense, and she contended she drove through a construction zone only once. She said she believed she was being chased and under attack.

Morgan and her daughter, Sabrina, 27, had left central Missouri one day earlier because they said they were upset about the condition of some rural property they wanted to buy. Ramona Morgan said people were chasing her and shooting at her as she drove west back toward Washington state.

She also denied running over any people.

Kansas Bureau of Investigation forensic tests found DNA from Korte and Griffith on the damaged front-end of Morgan's truck. The coroner has testified that the truck damage was consistent with the fatal injuries that the two men suffered.

Morgan faces two reckless second-degree murder charges and an aggravated battery charge for injuring a third worker.

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