A Georgia appeals court has granted a retrial in the case of a woman convicted of vehicular homicide in Baldwin County.
According to court documents, in July 2009, Tammi Lynn McMullen ran into a stationary vehicle on Highway 441 in north Baldwin County. Two men, Albert Lee Harris and Buford Prosser, were outside of their truck trying to reattach a trailer hauling pinestraw.
Both men were killed in the accident.
Months later, tests revealed McMullen had significant amounts of methamphetamine, morphine and phentermine, a prescription diet drug, in her blood.
McMullen was then arrested and, in February 2011, convicted of two counts of vehicular homicide and sentenced to 25 years--15 in prison and 10 on probation.
On July 9, 2012, the Georgia Court of Appeals ordered a retrial of the McMullen case because the prosecution introduced a conviction for possession of methamphetamine that happened ten years prior to the fatal accident. They deemed it was not sufficiently connected to the 2009 accident.
McMullen also argued that her blood test, taken after the accident, should have been thrown out, and that the results did not show illegal drug use. She stated that the morphine and phentermine were given as prescriptions and that the appearance of methamphetamine was actually her use of a Vick's inhaler.
The appeals court upheld the use of her blood test and its results as evidence.
Further, the court's opinion stated that even if the drug use was not illegal, per se, the amount found in her blood showed she was driving impaired and therefore liable for the two deaths.
In the opinion, the court noted testimony from the trial by an eyewitness who said McMullen "struck the trailer without appearing to brake, slow down, or swerve to avoid the accident in any way."
Also, the court noted evidence that the accident occurred on a clear day--"free of rain, fog or other visual impairments"--just before 11:11 a.m. in a location where the truck was visible for five- to seven-tenths of a mile prior to the point of impact.
No word on when the retrial will begin.
Tammi Lynn McMullen - Ga Appeals Court orders retrail