Woman charged in girl's death set for trial

March 09, 2002|By Nora Achrati | Nora Achrati,SUN STAFF

A Northeast Baltimore woman accused of killing a 7-year-old girl in a hit-and-run in December was arraigned yesterday as the girl's family looked on.

Debra A. Chafin, 45, pleaded innocent to charges of vehicular manslaughter, drunken driving and leaving the scene of the accident, which killed Brijae D. Harris on her way to school.

In the courtroom, more than 20 friends and family members joined the girl's mother, Monique Glover, 27, who wore a T-shirt with a photograph of her daughter. A Baltimore District Court judge scheduled a May 16 trial for Chafin.

Glover declined to comment, but her attorney, Keith S. Franz, called the arraignment "emotionally charged."

"It was, regrettably, the first time that many of us have seen this woman," Franz said.

Glover had been walking with her daughter, her infant son and her daughter's friend the morning of Dec. 21 when the group was hit by a 1990 Lincoln Continental at Moravia Road and Sipple Avenue. Glover, her son and the friend were injured; Brijae died almost instantly.

According to the charging documents, Chafin had a blood alcohol level of 0.27 percent when arrested. She sought to be found incompetent to stand trial, but the Circuit Court Medical Office has found her competent.

Vehicular manslaughter carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. Franz said Brijae's family would not support a plea bargain.

"The charges don't attach a penalty anywhere near what the value of a human life is," Franz said.

Chafin has been found guilty of drunken driving in Anne Arundel County and in North Carolina. She has denied involvement in Brijae's death. Her attorney, Peter Kandel, declined to comment.

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