Zigler takes Vincent plea agreement pending sentencing investigation
by C.F. David
With her attorney, Craig Rittenhouse at her side, Stephanie Vincent, 39, withdrew her previous pleas of innocence, and entered pleas of guilty on Jan. 20, to Manslaughter in the First Degree, (a felony) and transportation of an open container of alcohol, and a loaded handgun, (misdeameanors).
The charges stem from a Jan. 1, 2004 traffic accident that took the life of Brandon Abrahamson, 20, of Borger. Sometime after midnight that morning, five miles west and 16 miles north of Boise City, Abrahamson was ejected from, and pinned beneath, the 2003 Chevrolet pickup Vincent was driving when it overturned into a ravine.
District One Judge Greg Zigler, questioned Vincent about her understanding of rejecting a jury trial and its sentencing appeals versus the lack of appeals to a guilty plea.
Vincent responded that she understood.
According to the plea agreement reached between the state and defense, Vincent would receive: a five year deferred sentence and 90 days day-for-day in the county jail on the manslaughter charge; plus six-months county jail time for the open container to run concurrent with the first charge, and another six-months county jail time for the firearm charge to run consecutively with the first and second charges. The six-month sentences could be shortened if Sheriff Keith Borth has projects at which Vincent could work.
In addition there are fines and victim's restitution of:
H Cost of action, compensation and fines of nearly $4 thousand on the manslaughter charges, plus jail charges of $3,150 paid in advance on the 90 day sentence;
H A fine of $500 and an addtional $50 victims compensation on the open container charge
H And similar amounts for the weapons charge.
After reading the plea agreement to Vincent, Zigler addressed her, “As far as this plea agreement entered into by yourself and the state of Oklahoma; you realize this court wasn't involved?”
“Yes,” Vincent said softly.
“There is nothing in the law that forces the court to accept this agreement,” Zigler continued. He then informed Vincent that he could, after a pre-sentencing investigation, decide to modify her sentence; and if he made that decision, she would have the opportunity to accept or refuse the modified sentence as a blind plea, or she may withdraw her pleas of guilty and take her chances in front of a jury.
Zigler then asked Vincent to stand and asked how she pled.
Trembling as each charge was read Vincent softly answered yes to the charge of Manslaughter One; yes to Transportation of an open container, and yes to the transportation of a loaded weapon.
After listening to Vincent's version of the events, Zigler then informed her that he would immediatly launch a pre-sentencing investigation, and upon the completion of the investigation he would, on March 17, reconvene the court to give his decision.
Boise City News