Our readers who follow the popular television show "American Idol" may be aware of the 2009 death of a contestant resulting from a drunk-driving accident. The man accused of killing the former contestant had been charged with manslaughter and other charges.
Prosecutors have apparently dropped those charges, however, and the man pleaded guilty to eluding police and drunk driving in a plea agreement on Monday.
According to the man's attorney, there was never any evidence that his client killed the form Idol contestant. He also contends that the man's initial confession of manslaughter was made under police pressure.
On Monday, the man admitted to drinking six beers at a nightclub prior to operating his vehicle on the morning the crash occurred. He also admitted to ignoring orders from two bicycle officers to stop his vehicle, explaining that he was afraid to stop because of the alcohol he had consumed and because there was a marijuana pipe inside his vehicle.
In the process of attempting to escape from the officers, the man said he almost hit them and drove through a number of stop signs. At the time he was arrested, he refused to take a test to determine his blood-alcohol level.
After the defendant was arrested he was question by police. Initially he denied that he was behind the former Idol contestant's death, but later admitted he may have struck the woman. At one point in the questioning, he said he did hit her. Interestingly, police did not read the defendant his rights until sometime into the questioning. For that reason, a judge threw out the defendant's confession.
As part of Monday's plea agreement, the man faces probation and close to a year in jail at sentencing.
Source: Washington Post, "NJ man pleads guilty to charges stemming from traffic death of 'American Idol' contestant," November 29, 2011.
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