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Old 07-07-05, 02:18 PM   #1
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Player convicted in death of cyclist

http://www.sptimes.com/2005/07/07/Hi...ted_in_d.shtml
This isn't the first time for this guy either
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By CANDACE RONDEAUX, Times Staff Writer
Published July 7, 2005

TAMPA - Darion Conner has run his last yard. Ten months after the Tampa Bay Storm linebacker fatally struck a Carrollwood bicyclist with his Toyota Land Cruiser, a jury found Conner guilty Wednesday of DUI-manslaughter and vehicular homicide.

The second-degree felony charges carry a punishment of up to 15 years in prison. Conner's sentencing is scheduled for July 14.

Nearly a dozen witnesses testified during the two-day trial. Two USF students who witnessed the accident said they saw Conner, 37, swerving erratically down Gunn Highway before his sport utility vehicle rammed into Jonathan Michael Conklin about 1:50 a.m. Sept. 4, 2004. The collision shattered the windshield of Conner's vehicle and sent Conklin, 32, flying roughly 210 feet through the air, prosecutors said.

With his brain stem severed in the impact, Conklin, a lawn maintainance worker, died at the scene of the accident.

When investigators arrived a few minutes later they found Conner passed out behind the wheel with the smell of alcohol on his breath, Hillsborough County sheriff's Deputy Robert Barlow said. Tests showed Conner's blood-alcohol level at the time was 0.27, or more than three times the level at which, under state law, someone is presumed too intoxicated to drive.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement toxicologist Lisa Zeller said a test of Conner's blood alcohol concentration after the accident showed he likely consumed 16 to 21 drinks before he got behind the wheel of his vehicle.

"Nobody is saying he is a bad person for what he did. But he made a bad bad decision that night," said prosecutor Kim Seace.

Conner has made similar bad decisions before. He was previously charged three times with driving under the influence. That history led Hillsborough County Circuit Judge Ronald Ficarrotta to place Conner under house arrest after he was charged in October.

Ronald Kurpiers, Conner's defense attorney, told jurors Wednesday that Conner was not the only one responsible for the accident. Kurpiers said Conklin had also been drinking that night and may have swerved out of the bike lane along the poorly lit street.

"There was an accident but two people were involved," Kurpiers said. "Unfortunately in this particular accident a bicyclist was involved."

More unfortunate for Conner was the 20-minute videotape of Conner flubbing a sobriety test. About 10 minutes into deliberation, the jury sent a note to Judge Ficarrotta asking to see the video a second time. Jurors sat transfixed as they watched Conner slur through a confused explanation of what happened in the accident. Conner twice told a Hillsborough County sheriff's deputy that a car pulled out in front of him and seemed surprised when he was told he had hit a cyclist. The jury returned with a guilty verdict about two hours later.

Conner bowed his head and closed his eyes as one juror cried while the verdict was read.

Conner's conviction comes about two months after his mother died. One of 11 children, Conner earned his football chops while playing with his brothers in his home state of Mississippi. He later attended nearby Jackson State University and went on to play for several NFL teams before joining the Tampa Bay Storm, said his sister Patty White. White and several other family members drove from Mississippi early Wednesday morning for the trial.

"We've had our share of tough times and good times," White, 51, said.

Kurpiers called the verdict "very disappointing," and said he hopes Conner's record of community involvement in Florida and Mississippi will help mitigate his punishment.
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Old 07-07-05, 02:30 PM   #2
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Okay. One more off the road, I guess. Bad day for all involved.
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Old 07-07-05, 04:36 PM   #3
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Very dissapointing?............and this guy gets paid for this?
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Old 07-07-05, 04:41 PM   #4
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"Nobody is saying he is a bad person for what he did. But he made a bad bad decision that night," said prosecutor Kim Seace.


wha?! he killed someone because he thought he was above the law. what does she mean, he's not a bad person? that's exactly what he is. totally reckless and a danger to the community. 16-21 drinks! glad he's going away.
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Old 07-07-05, 05:09 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timmhaan
"Nobody is saying he is a bad person for what he did. But he made a bad bad decision that night," said prosecutor Kim Seace.


wha?! he killed someone because he thought he was above the law. what does she mean, he's not a bad person? that's exactly what he is. totally reckless and a danger to the community. 16-21 drinks! glad he's going away.
You beat me to the punch with your post. Those were exactly my thoughts when I read the article. I'm so disgusted that the prosecutor of all people can say that with a straight face. Send a clear message for everyone's sake. Darion Conner's repeated disregard for public safety borderlines on sociopathic negligence. His final offense sealed his fate. Unfortunately, it also sealed the fate of an innocent human being.
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Old 07-07-05, 05:24 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by konageezer
Okay. One more off the road, I guess. Bad day for all involved.
What are you talking about? He'll probably get probation and community service- and will commit other alcohol/driving offenses while on a suspended license. this is america!
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Old 07-07-05, 05:34 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timmhaan
"Nobody is saying he is a bad person for what he did. But he made a bad bad decision that night," said prosecutor Kim Seace.


wha?! he killed someone because he thought he was above the law. what does she mean, he's not a bad person? that's exactly what he is. totally reckless and a danger to the community. 16-21 drinks! glad he's going away.
I was about to say too. He killed someone but he's not a bad person, just someone who made a bad decision? How about I slit her throat, I'm still a good person, I just had a bad thought.
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Old 07-07-05, 05:41 PM   #8
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This is this clown's FOURTH DUI. Does that not count for something in sentencing and and later probation deliberations? "Up to 15 years" may unfortunately mean a significantly shorter sentence in this case.
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Old 07-07-05, 05:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slvoid
I was about to say too. He killed someone but he's not a bad person, just someone who made a bad decision? How about I slit her throat, I'm still a good person, I just had a bad thought.
As long as you drink 16-21 beers before hand, then it would be OK. Especially since you did not have any prior bad decisions.
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Old 07-07-05, 06:49 PM   #10
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The victims family should be entitled to civil damages from the courts that allowed this criminal to still be driving after the three previous convictions. If this were the case I bet the judges would think twice about letting these future murderers off easy.
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Old 07-07-05, 07:01 PM   #11
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- read the story in the paper this evening... obviously an alcoholic...

- it's a shame... but i have to tell you that i see drunk drivers DAILY where i live...

- that's one reason i'll never ride on the roads down here.... (thank heavens there are some good bike trails)...
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Old 07-07-05, 11:32 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slvoid
How about I slit her throat, I'm still a good person, I just had a bad thought.
If you somehow manage to slit it with a car you're in the clear. Hasn't reading the threads in this section taught you that yet?

Although I wish the chair was an option for this assclown

http://tinyurl.com/a9qcj
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Copyright Times Publishing Co. Jul 7, 2005

The search for Derrick McNeal, accused of running over two young children as he aimed his pickup truck at his ex-girlfriend during a Fourth of July barbecue, ended Wednesday in room 233 of the Best Western Motel in Brandon.

Authorities say McNeal, 36, was taken into custody about 6 p.m. after a brief struggle with Tampa police detectives, Hillsborough Sheriff's deputies and agents from the U.S. Marshal's Office.

The investigators pursued leads all day and ended up at the motel on Adamo Drive, said U.S. Marshal's spokeswoman Lisa Alfonso.

"He didn't comply with our orders to come out of the room, so we had a brief struggle," Alfonso said. "But there were so many of us in the room, he didn't have much of a fight. It really couldn't have gone any better." Wednesday night, detectives took McNeal to Tampa police headquarters for questioning.

Sgt. James Contento said McNeal, a career criminal with more than a dozen felony convictions, will be booked into the county jail on charges of murder and attempted murder.

According to police, McNeal ran down the children while trying to hit Tosha Montgomery, who broke up with him in April after four years of dating. They say McNeal harassed Montgomery after the breakup, throwing a brick into the windshield of her parents' car and stalking her.

Authorities secured warrants to arrest McNeal on charges of aggravated stalking and throwing a deadly missile into an occupied vehicle after Montgomery filed police reports last month, but McNeal evaded police for weeks.

Then came Monday's hit and run, and the all-out search that followed. Just after 7:30 p.m. Monday, Montgomery was enjoying a barbecue at the east Tampa home of friend Toshia Kenner's grandmother, 66-year-old Louise Edwards.

Montgomery, 30, was in the front yard of the house at 3201 E 24th Ave., when a man came driving down the street in a red Dodge pickup, police said. Witnesses later identified the driver as McNeal.

The driver gunned the gas, rammed another car out of the way, plowed through a chain-link fence surrounding the yard and steered the pickup toward Montgomery, according to police and witnesses.

Toshayla Hall, 4, and Demontaye Simmons, 2, were playing in the yard. The truck grazed Montgomery and hit the children. McNeal abandoned the truck and fled on foot, according to police.

Rescue workers treated Montgomery at the scene for minor injuries.

Demontaye died at the scene. By the time his mother got there, rescue workers had covered his tiny body in a white sheet.

Toshayla went to Tampa General Hospital with scrapes and bruises. She was released Wednesday evening, just as her mother, Toshia Kenner, heard news of McNeal's arrest.

"I'm so happy," Kenner said. "I just want to see him behind bars. I hope he burns in hell."

"I'm happy he got caught," said Demontaye's mother, Tatiana Johnson. "Now he can't do any more damage."

McNeal's father, 56-year-old Ernest McNeal, said he is relieved his son is in custody. But he does not believe investigators' account of the hit and run crash.

Ernest McNeal said his son hit the gas of the pickup by accident after he was shot at by someone near the house along E 24th Avenue.

Contento said detectives found no evidence of shots fired near the house. McNeal called his father after the hit and run and told him he had been shot, but Contento said officers found no evidence of injuries when they arrested McNeal Wednesday.
I watched this jackass get tossed into the back of the squad car on TV and he said that the dead child "deserved it" and that the victim's mother should "bury him b***h".
Lethal injection is too nice for this *********
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Old 07-08-05, 01:16 AM   #13
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Some of you people just don't understand (drumming on desk ala Limbaugh) he can't POSSIBLY be a bad person! He drives an SUV!! Bad people never-ever drive those!
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Old 07-08-05, 05:42 AM   #14
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When investigators arrived a few minutes later they found Conner passed out behind the wheel with the smell of alcohol on his breath,
How did cops get there and this guy was still in his car? You would think someone (like me) would have pulled him out of the car, and stomped him into the next world.

Not a bad guy? No he isnít a bad guy, he is a murder. He went out, got drunk, and killed someone. Not a bad guy my @$$. This is the problem with people.

I have zero tolerance for drunks.

How many people get killed by a drunk driver who has 3 or 4 offenses on him, and was driving on a suspended license? It is too common a problem and God help the bastard that hits me or someone in my family while they are drunk. Prison will be safe haven for them.
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Old 07-08-05, 05:47 AM   #15
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I hope he gets the maximum. You can't tell me that you don't know what will happen to you after two drinks, three drinks, ten drinks. For some people, drinking to get drunk is the whole point. Most people drink to get slightly drunk.
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Old 07-08-05, 06:05 AM   #16
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I don't understand how killing someone with a car is different from killing someone with a gun.
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Old 07-08-05, 09:08 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raiyn
[color=blue]If you somehow manage to slit it with a car you're in the clear. Hasn't reading the threads in this section taught you that yet?
Oh DUH, I'm so stupid, I should've known.
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Old 07-08-05, 11:01 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slvoid
Oh DUH, I'm so stupid, I should've known.
It's nothing to beat yourself up over
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Old 07-08-05, 11:43 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Bigmark
How did cops get there and this guy was still in his car? You would think someone (like me) would have pulled him out of the car, and stomped him into the next world.

Not a bad guy? No he isn?t a bad guy, he is a murder. He went out, got drunk, and killed someone. Not a bad guy my @$$. This is the problem with people.

I have zero tolerance for drunks.

How many people get killed by a drunk driver who has 3 or 4 offenses on him, and was driving on a suspended license? It is too common a problem and God help the bastard that hits me or someone in my family while they are drunk. Prison will be safe haven for them.
Remember, folks, about the "car culture" we live in. Remember also that it was not that long ago- well OK 30 years but you get the point- in the mid 1970s when people first started being held accountable for driving uder the influence. Not only did the attitude that you weren't "at fault" due to the alcohol being in you prevail until that time, but the accountability issue has only very slowly grown in seriousness. There are still parts of the country where alcohol-related vehicle accidents/crimes aren't treated as seriously as other types of crime. Some people apparently still think that (with the exception of the second article Raiyn just posted) it makes a difference that you don't get into the car with the intent to hurt/maim/kill.
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Old 07-09-05, 01:17 AM   #20
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He shouldn't have to do any jail time. He's a football player, the American hero. How dare any of you condemn him. On a serious note, there's a certain mentality prevalent in the sports culture - sports figures are placed on a pedestal, paid huge salaries and endorsement fees, and worshipped by fans. Not even Lance deserves to be treated like some demi-god, they're all just humans like the rest of us. He's been treated like he's above the common folk, and has now acted as such. And I doubt he sat at home and drank those 16-21 drinks before getting into his SUV. While I am all for personal accountability, he certainly had his share of accomplices.
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Old 07-09-05, 06:24 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timmhaan
"Nobody is saying he is a bad person for what he did. But he made a bad bad decision that night," said prosecutor Kim Seace.


wha?! he killed someone because he thought he was above the law. what does she mean, he's not a bad person? that's exactly what he is. totally reckless and a danger to the community. 16-21 drinks! glad he's going away.
Hey, except for that little incident with the ovens, Hitler was a great guy.
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Old 07-09-05, 07:32 AM   #22
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I say he is a bad person he has driven drunk more than once as for the verdict being disappointing?Yeah ,of course it is he only got 15 years . He should have gotten more.Dissapointing? Give me a break.He killed a man by sending him flying 210 feet through the air !because ,he had to drink and drive!
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Old 07-09-05, 09:44 AM   #23
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Maybe the prosecutor needs a bit of education too....

...really this jackass doesn't deserve his job...

...and I'm glad it's one more asshat off the road....of course knowing all luck he will jsut ignore the inconvenient "no license" part.
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Old 07-09-05, 10:48 AM   #24
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I'm no legal expert -- well, I DO have a degree in "Law & Order" -- but if Conner is popular in Tampa (I have no idea,) then the prosecutor may have been trying to separate the man from his act to avoid a jury nullification situation. There are plenty of celebrities who have been acquitted due to their popularity. The fact is that she DID succeed in getting a conviction!
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Old 07-09-05, 11:36 AM   #25
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Oboeguy, it's quite simple. Guns are evil and cause people to have evil thoughts, which in turn cause violence and killing.

Cars, on the other hand, are necessary tools which can be used for evil purposes but are far too important to restrict.


The quote about whether he's a good person is shocking, but I guess it shouldn't be. Several years ago we had an infamous DUI case here. A guy went to the state fair, lost his friends after he got roaring drunk, and went back to his car. He ended up pulling onto the interstate going the wrong way and killing a carful of kids from Minnesota or somewhere.

I was shocked (back then) at the number of people, including the radio commenators, who said "Look, let's be honest, we've all done this. We just got lucky, and his luck ran out, that's all."
WHAT? First of all, no, we have NOT all "done" drunk driving.
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