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Sentencing delayed for Berkeley County man in fatal DUI case

Jeffrey Wayne McKinney pleaded guilty in 2010 crash that killed a Hagerstown woman

November 13, 2012|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthew.umstead@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The sentencing hearing for a man who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor counts of negligent homicide and driving under the influence in the March 2010 vehicle crash that killed a Hagerstown woman was continued Tuesday until Dec. 10 in Berkeley County Circuit Court.

Jeffrey Wayne McKinney, 39, is to be placed on home confinement for 18 months as part of a binding plea agreement, attorneys have said.

McKinney, formerly of Berkeley County, was indicted on single counts of driving under the influence causing death and failure to yield in a March 18, 2010, crash that claimed the life of Mary F. Punt, 57.

The sentencing hearing was delayed Tuesday after presiding 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge Gray Silver III learned of a problem with McKinney being able to meet the terms and conditions of his home confinement.

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Defense attorney Harley O. Wagner asked for time to address the issue.

McKinney, who now lives in Maryland, lost his privilege to drive in West Virginia, attorneys said.

Wagner indicated McKinney has a valid Virginia license, but Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney Pamela Games-Neely noted that Maryland will not issue the defendant a license because of his suspension in West Virginia.

McKinney told the court Tuesday that he wanted to express his condolences for Punt’s death when Silver asked him if he wanted to make a statement.

One of Punt’s two brothers told McKinney that he forgave him for his actions and hoped McKinney asks God for forgiveness.

“She was a very dear lady,” her brother said.

Police have said McKinney admitted to drinking five or six beers the night of the head-on collision that occurred at about 11:30 p.m. at the intersection of U.S. 11 and Berkeley Station Road.

While McKinney was not injured in the crash, Punt, who was northbound on U.S. 11, died at the scene, police said.

The plea came about as a result of some improper procedures by an investigating officer and that contributed to admissibility issues for other officers who relied on the initial work, Games-Neely said previously.

As a result of those errors, the results of two of three field sobriety tests conducted by a Berkeley County Sheriff’s deputy were determined to be inadmissible, according to Games-Neely and court records.

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