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Wright verdict dispute resolved

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

(Photo)
Cody Wright
Superior Court Judge Blaine Akers' verdict resolved the legal technicality which brought Cody Wright back to the Clay County Courthouse Tuesday.

"Despite the emotions involved in this matter, I'm bound to uphold the law," Akers told the courtroom audience after testimony ended in Wright's trial for class B misdemeanor reckless driving charges in Clay County. "If anyone doesn't like the ruling I'm about to announce, they need to contact the legislature."

Although Defense Attorney Edward McGlone argued Chief Deputy Prosecutor Kim Jackson failed to prove there was adequate evidence for a guilty verdict, Akers disagreed.

Wright was sentenced to the maximum the State of Indiana allows upon conviction, 180 days incarceration at the Clay County Justice Center (after completing any prior prison sentence) and a fine and court costs totaling $1,164.50 that may be pursued for collection by the Clay County Auditor's Office and the Clay County Commissioners upon his future release.

Wright, 19, Brazil, is currently serving seven years at the Indiana Department of Correction for a conviction of class B felony resisting law enforcement resulting in (a traffic accident causing) the death of his girlfriend, Brandee Siples, Nov. 17, 2007.

However, Wright was involved in a prior reckless driving incident in May 25, 2007.

On Tuesday, Clay County Sheriff's Department Reserve Deputy Chris Robinson testified that sometime around 3:20 p.m. that day, he clocked Wright driving eastbound at 62 mph in a 35 mph zone along Hendrix St.

After performing a traffic stop, Robinson let Wright look at the radar system in his patrol car when he disagreed with him.

"We walked back to the car and he looked at it," Robinson said. "He said, 'Yep, it's 62'."

Robinson said several factors, including school was letting out, rain had made the roads slick, the vehicle was traveling twice the legal speed limit and school buses would be in the area, were the reason he cited Wright with reckless driving.

Because Wright apparently had no criminal background at the time of the May 2007 incident, he was charged with a misdemeanor traffic offense. This made him a candidate for the pre-trial diversion program.

The program allows a person without a criminal background to have their misdemeanor case dismissed after fulfilling a formally negotiated and court approved legal agreement, thereby avoiding a conviction if the person doesn't get into trouble again.

In September 2007, a pre-trial diversion was negotiated and formally filed on Wright's behalf, but it was later revoked after officials learned about the November accident in Putnam County.

On July 16, Wright appeared in Clay Superior Court for the class D misdemeanor charge of reckless driving before Judge Akers, who refused to hear a discussion about a plea agreement that connected the two cases.

Akers said he could not order Wright's sentence to be concurrent or consecutive with the decision handed down by Putnam County Circuit Court Judge Mathew Headley on June 12 without a legal determination being made using case law.

On Tuesday, the prosecutor cited case law involving a similar pre-trial diversion case.

Jackson explained that because Wright was initially bound by the pre-trial diversion agreement before the accident in Putnam County, if convicted of the Clay County charge, Wright's sentence could be served consecutively.

However, McGlone asked the judge to take into consideration that five traffic infractions cited by the state are civil matters and not usually used against a person in court. He requested Akers to completely suspend any sentence issued by the court.

Akers disagreed and said Wright's prior driving behavior could have hurt himself or others.

As Wright was escorted back to the Clay County Justice Center, in the courtroom two families struggled with the loss of their loved ones. Wright's family shook their heads in grief and disbelief as Brandee Siples' family members held hands and fought back tears.

"It's hard, I know. Everyone says it will get easier with time, but it isn't," Pam Siples told The Brazil Times about dealing with the loss of her daughter. "At least they will get back birthdays and holidays some day. We get nothing back, never."


Comments
Note: The nature of the Internet makes it impractical for our staff to review every comment. If you feel that a comment is offensive, please Login or Create an account first, and then you will be able to flag a comment as objectionable. Please also note that those who post comments on thebraziltimes.com may do so using a screen name, which may or may not reflect a website user's actual name. Readers should be careful not to assign comments to real people who may have names similar to screen names. Refrain from obscenity in your comments, and to keep discussions civil, don't say anything in a way your grandmother would be ashamed to read.

To the family of Brandee: I truly feel sorry for your loss. But, it is GOD's calling when a person dies. ARE YOU BLAMING GOD???? You probably need to feel a more religious side to your daughter's death. Cody Wright did indeed play a part in the death of your daughter. He is paying the price also.

Please learn to forgive and get on with life.

-- Posted by Taxpayer5253 on Wed, Sep 17, 2008, at 6:41 AM

This was a very mean thing to say. The Siples have enough pain without you adding to the grief.

-- Posted by sassypants on Wed, Sep 17, 2008, at 7:21 AM

Pam & Terry are a great family, and they do believe in God and pray to him everyday to help them understand why this had to happen to Brandee at only 17. Keep in mind that what is seen is in 7 years Cody will be out enjoying his life, celebrating holidays, birthdays and just waking up each day. It is very hard for some of us to understand why God called on our loved ones and hopefully one day we can all understand why it happens the way it does, but until then just remember they buried their 17 year old beautiful daughter with a bright out look on life. Did they get those senior pictures her class is getting, planning for the S.A.T.'s or filling out college applications with her? Not even what comes after college, marriage, family, maybe babies. No, they don't! So time will help get through this and Pam and Terry along with Brett are very strong people and we love them a lot and look forward to helping them ease their pain each and every day!

-- Posted by Becki on Wed, Sep 17, 2008, at 7:26 AM

My deepest sympathy goes out to the families. I hope that not only will young drivers learn to not drive reckless but as a passenger to not stand for it. These articles show Cody drove reckless on more then one occasion. I hope all passengers learn to refuse to ride with these types of drivers or ask to get out and call someone else. It is such a shame. As a parent I have called and reported kids for bad behavior/driving. I cant imagine what Brandees parents must be going through.

-- Posted by Sportfan on Wed, Sep 17, 2008, at 7:42 AM

Let's blame the legislature and give the MAX sentence. That's the way to handle it. My sympathy goes out to both families as well as the boy who needs our prayers too. God forgives why can't everyone else!

-- Posted by Innocent on Wed, Sep 17, 2008, at 7:50 AM

Taxpayer5253,

This is hardly the forum to be giving counsel to people who have lost a daughter. That needs to be left to the people who know and love the Siples family. If you did know them and have true concern for them you never would have posted what you did, but would have went personally to them in love.

Saying what you have could be very hurtful when you don't know the situation. You are being as helpful as Job's friends were to him.

-- Posted by localgal on Wed, Sep 17, 2008, at 8:10 AM

Innocent,

Forgiveness does not mean accountability for your actions going away. Cody can turn to God and find forgiveness, evidence of that happening is him taking responsibility for those actions.

I do not think seeking justice for breaking our laws on earth means people hope the worst for Cody.

I hurt for all sides in this issue. I hope Cody is reflecting on the pain he has caused everyone, including himself, and I hope he does seek God while he is in prison. But just like Brandee's death can not be taken back, neither can his accountability for it.

-- Posted by localgal on Wed, Sep 17, 2008, at 8:21 AM

Wow, A+ Judge Akers. Suprising sentence coming from him, but he did the right think. The MAX is all Cody deserves!

-- Posted by Pro Se on Wed, Sep 17, 2008, at 10:15 AM

My guess is that innocent has never lost a child due to the negligence of a third party. I guarntee you would see it differently. Pray that you don't have to suffer that pain.

-- Posted by Conservative Dad on Wed, Sep 17, 2008, at 10:40 AM

Localgal, Your words could not have been more perfect and to the point. You certainly have an understanding and love for others feelings.

Taxpayer5253, I'm praying for you. You obviously don't understand the true love of God and forgiveness.

-- Posted by hoosiertwins on Wed, Sep 17, 2008, at 8:30 PM

I wonder if the probation or parole department could make it part of this young man's conditions for release from prison to share his story with the young people (IE: students at the middle and high school levels) and parents in school convocations, town and church meetings?

What better way to make amends for such a tragic event (and potentially heal the hearts of all involved), than to stop it from happening again?

-- Posted by Cy on Thu, Sep 18, 2008, at 1:21 PM

Brandee was such a sweet and innocent girl,she didn't deserve this! She is the person I think about when SPEED is mentioned-what a tragic way to die. She is with GOD now.I keep praying for her family everyday,hoping it helps. GOD-BLESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

-- Posted by Army_girl17 on Fri, Sep 19, 2008, at 4:18 PM

I have to say yes he will get out and have birthdays, and holidays and so on but im sure he will never be the same either and neither will his family, they have suffered a loss as well, along with Brandees family but just in a different way. He has to live the prison life and learn to survive in their he is paying his price he will never be who he could of been and it is hard telling what his life will turn into, once they go to prison at such a young age, it becomes a place that most often young people will return to becaue of the different lifestyle they have had to learn to lead. So im sorry for both sides, its all to sad to see what one thought, decision, or choice could do to your life and to others in a split second!!

-- Posted by jjen1212 on Wed, Sep 24, 2008, at 7:50 PM

To the family of Brandee: I truly feel sorry for your loss of your daughter. God needed an another angel with him up in heaven.Cody need to stay in the pin and think of what he has done and think of how many people he has hurt in the first place and that he needs to think long and hard of now what Brandee parents and family is going through.

-- Posted by AmayaTsuki on Sat, Sep 27, 2008, at 7:58 AM

I hope the parents of Brandee Siples are doing fine and I know what you are going through and its hard to lose a kid and I hope Cody Wright spends alot of time in prison and thinks of what he has done to you and your family.

-- Posted by AmayaTsuki on Sat, Sep 27, 2008, at 9:50 AM

I know that Brandee Siples family does go to church and believes in god and prays everyday and every night and I hope Pam&Terry are doing okay and I think about what yous have to go through everyday not being able to see your daughter go to her prom, be there for her birthday, christmas, not being able to graduate with her class and being there for any other holidays and I do feel sorry for her family and friends and the people that she went to school with and I don't feel sorry for Cody Wright because he had what was coming to him.

-- Posted by AmayaTsuki on Sat, Sep 27, 2008, at 10:30 AM


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