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The second trial for a Spokane stockbroker accused of killing a woman in a car crash has been postponed until May 31.
A car technician recently downloaded data from Jon Strine's 2002 Mercedes that could regard speed and other information. Some of the information has been provided to Strine's lawyer, Carl Oreskovich, and Mercedes' legal department is deciding who can testify in court regarding the information, said Deputy Prosecutor Mary Ann Brady.
Strine's first trial ended in a bizarre mistrial after jurors said they'd reached a not guilty verdict but six said they disagreed during polling.
Strine is charged with vehicular homicide and vehicular for the June 2, 2009 crashed that killed motorcycle passenger Lorri Keller paralyzed the driver, her husband, Gary Keller.
Wails from a victim’s daughter filled the courtroom just after the judge read what was presented as a unanimous acquittal. But seconds later, a juror said she didn’t agree with the verdict. Then five more said the same thing.
The bizarre series of events, which several longtime Spokane County court officials said they’d never before seen, led to a mistrial Thursday in the vehicular homicide and assault trial of a Spokane stockbroker who broadsided a motorcycle in June 2009, killing the passenger, Lorri Keller, (right) and paralyzing the driver, her husband, Gary Keller.
A new trial for Jon A. Strine, 43, (above) is expected to begin in March.
The Keller family declined comment. Strine and his lawyer, premier private defense attorney Carl Oreskovich, also declined comment.
Deputy Prosecutor Mary Ann Brady said she was “so surprised by what happened.”
But, she said, “This was a very tough case…Sometimes people just can’t agree.”
The 12 jurors left without speaking to media.
“I know this has been extremely difficult for everyone,” Judge Tari Etizen (left) said in court.
The jury in the Jon Strine vehicular homicide trial has gone home for the day.
The 12 jurors deliberated until about 5 p.m. today and will reconvene Thursday at 9 a.m. They deliberated for about an hour and a half on Tuesday following closing arguments. That includes time reviewing jury instructions and choosing a foreman.
The jury is to decide whether Strine, 43, was criminally negligent when his Mercedes crashed into a motorcycle in June 2009, paralyzing the driver, Gary Keller, and killing the passenger, Keller's wife, Lorri Keller.
Strine, a stockbroker, admits to drinking before the crash but disputes a state test that placed his blood-alcohol level at .20.
Jurors watched surveillance videos from Fast Eddie's bar in which Strine does not appear to be visibility drunk. They also viewed video from Washington State Department of Transportation camera that shows Strine driving with the flow of traffic.
Other motorists who witnessed the crash have testified that Strine was driving erratically just before the crash.
Last week, Strine said he falsely told a doctor he hadn't anything to drink after the crash because a police officer was listening.
“I was afraid,” said Strine, who is charged with vehicular homicide and vehicular assault. “I knew (Spokane police Officer Paul) Watson was going to try to pin this on me.”
A Spokane stockbroker admits to drinking alcohol the day his Mercedes crashed into a motorcycle, paralyzing the driver and killing the passenger, but he told jurors he wasn’t drunk.
He’d told the doctor who examined him after the June 2, 2009, crash that he hadn’t had anything to drink because a police officer was in the room, listening.
“I was afraid,” said Jon A. Strine, who is charged with vehicular homicide and vehicular assault for the crash. “I knew (Spokane police Officer Paul) Watson was going to try to pin this on me.”
Closing arguments are scheduled Tuesday afternoon because Strine's lawyer, Carl Oreskovich, will be in Seattle on Monday for a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals hearing regarding the Karl Thompson-Otto Zehm case.
Oreskovich, who is representing Thompson, will be arguing against federal prosecutors' request that jurors be informed of the fact that Zehm did not commit a crime prior to the fatal confrontation.
A Spokane stockbroker accused of paralyzing a motorcyclist and killing a woman during a drunken crash in 2009 is expected to testify today.
Jon A. Strine, 43, is to take the stand this morning, one of the final days of his vehicular assault and vehicular homicide jury trial.
A state test put Strine's blood-alcohol level at .20, but his lawyer, Carl Oreskovich, said the test is unreliable and has presented testimony from experts who say Strine's alcohol consumption prior to the crash would have kept him within the legal limit for driving.
Jurors watched surveillance video from Fast Eddie's bar downtown, where Strine went with a waitress from Press bar on South Grand after the woman said she'd applied for a job there, and Strine offered to introduce her to the owner.
They drank alcohol and left in Strine's 2002 silver Mercedes. Minutes later, Strine made a last-second lane change, then smashed into the Gary and Lorrie Keller.
Oreskovich has said Strine made a simple driving error, not a criminal act, and should be found not guilty. Strine has already settled a lawsuit from Keller out of court.
A juror was removed from a vehicular homicide trial today after falling asleep and telling a judge it was OK she'd missed testimony because she already knew the topic well.
"I was marginally OK until she volunteered the last part," said Superior Court Judge Tari Eitzen.
The woman told the judge she already understood phlebotomy after she was confronted about sleeping during testimony regarding the subject on Tuesday, the third day of trial for Jon A. Strine, who is charged with vehicular homicide and vehicular assault for a June 2, 2009, crash that killed Lorri Keller (pictured) and left her husband, Gary Keller, paralyzed.
The woman apologized repeatedly after Eitzen told her today that she could no longer serve on the jury because "every single juror has to have the same information."
"I feel really bad," said the woman, who appeared to be in her late 30s or early 40s.
One of three alternates, who have been present for the entire trial, took her place.
Deputy Prosecutor Mary Ann Brady didn't call for the woman's removal, but Strine's lawyer, Carl Oreskovich, said she shouldn't proceed with the trial.
"This is a case that has to be decided based upon evidence," he said.
The trial, which began with opening statements Thursday afternoon and continued Monday, has included testimony from Keller and several civilian witnesses who responded to the crash at Fourth and Browne.
The testimony from those witnesses was emotional, and preceded testimony from the lead crash investigator, Spokane police Cpl. Brad Hallock.
Other witnesses include Spokane County Medical Examiner Dr. John Howard, who conducted Lorri Keller's autopsy, and Dr. Paul Lin, who treated Gary Keller.
Today's witnesses included Hallock and Amanda Black from the state crime lab.
Black underwent extensive cross examination and admitted under questioning that the lab can't guarantee samples aren't contaminated. The point is key to Strine's defense.
Oreskovich said in his opening statement that he will present experts to refute a test that put Strine's blood-alcohol level at .20.
Oreskovich likely will begin calling witnesses Thursday afternoon. The case could be with the jury by the end of next week.
Gary Keller remembers the crash that killed his wife and left him paralyzed: He said it started with a silver flash.
“I remember a big crash, and I remember flying through the air and hitting the ground, and I was in a lot of pain,” Keller, 61, said Thursday in the opening day of a trial in Spokane County Superior Court for Jon A. Strine on charges of vehicular homicide and vehicular assault.
Prosecutors say Strine, a Spokane stockbroker, was drunk and speeding in his 2002 silver Mercedes when his car slammed into Keller and his wife, Lorri Keller, 48, (pictured) on their Yamaha motorcycle on June 2, 2009, at West Fourth Avenue and South Browne Street in Spokane. Both were wearing full-masked motorcycle helmets.
Carl Oreskovich, considered one of the region’s premier defense attorneys, called the crash “a terrible, tragic, horrific accident” but said Strine made just a simple driving error just before the crash – a last-minute lane change – not a criminal act.
“Although this may have been a bad driving decision, it was an ordinary bad driving decision,” Oreskovich said. “It wasn’t a criminal bad driving decision.”