Judge rejects second trial in manslaughter case

April 18, 1994|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Sun Staff Writer

A New Windsor man convicted last month of killing two people in an auto accident has lost his bid for a new trial.

Without comment, Carroll Circuit Judge Francis M. Arnold rejected James Gregory Martin's motion for a new trial.

Martin, 21, of the 2900 block of Sams Creek Road, said in the motion that Judge Arnold acted unfairly when he allowed testimony that he had previously ruled inadmissible.

"The introduction of evidence which was previously determined to be inadmissible caught the defendant, who was not prepared to deal with this evidence at trial, by surprise and thereby prejudiced the defendant in his defense," Russell J. White, Martin's lawyer, wrote in the new trial motion, which Judge Arnold rejected April 7.

A Carroll jury convicted Martin on March 25 on automobile manslaughter charges after 2 1/2 days of testimony.

Prosecutors said that Martin, driving a pickup truck, was playing a game of "chicken" with Carroll Lynn "Hot Shot" Schisler Jr., also in a truck, Dec. 12, 1992, on Route 407. The two vehicles collided head-on, killing two passengers in Martin's truck

instantly.

According to court records and police reports, Martin drove into the path of Mr. Schisler's truck, which was towing a livestock trailer.

Mr. Schisler was unable to avoid the collision, court records say.

The crash killed 25-year-old Gary Schisler, Carroll's brother, and 18-year-old Andy Stonesifer, both of New Windsor.

Prosecution witnesses testified during the trial that Martin said he would "get even" with Carroll Schisler for a defamatory statement Mr. Schisler was said to have made about him.

They also recounted previous incidents in which Martin drove recklessly, sometimes engaging in games of "chicken" with other motorists.

In a pretrial ruling, Judge Arnold had said that such testimony would be inadmissible before a jury.

When prosecutors sought to introduce it during the trial, Judge Arnold reversed his decision.

It was not known last week why Judge Arnold decided to allow the evidence, but Mr. White said in the motion that it was an unfair decision.

He declined to comment on the judge's new trial ruling.

Martin could receive a prison term of 20 years and a $10,000 fine when he is sentenced by Judge Arnold on June 7.

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