Judge denies Halverson’s new trial request
Ryan Summerlin February 25, 2014
Larry Lee Halverson faces a March 10 sentencing after his request for a new trial was denied Tuesday in El Dorado County Superior Court.
Halverson was convicted of gross negligence vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated last October. His public defender made several arguments in his request for a new trial.
One argument was that Halverson was originally indicted for failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk, but that the indictment was later substantially amended in jury instructions to broaden the base for possible conviction.
Another centered on evidentiary rulings by Judge Stephen C. Bailey, including the number of Halverson’s eight prior drunk driving convictions that were allowed to be discussed at trial.
One piece of evidence not brought before the jury was the blood alcohol concentration of the man Halverson struck and killed on Ski Run Boulevard, 51-year-old Patrick Purnell.
Purnell was reportedly four times the legal limit for intoxication when hit by Halverson, according to court records.
A request by Halverson’s public defender to have the jury foreman testify was denied at Tuesday’s hearing.
The focus of the testimony would have been that the jury did not properly deliberate because it was prejudiced by information about Halverson’s prior DUI convictions and might have reached a different decision had it known the extent to which Purnell was intoxicated.
None of the arguments swayed Judge Bailey, who denied the new trial request.
At trial, Halverson was found to be driving under the influence of alcohol but below a legal threshold for intoxication. He left the scene of the fatal collision without rendering aid or notifying police and also was found to be driving on a suspended license.
Halverson faces 15 years to life in prison under a provision in California law for repeat DUI offenders convicted of gross negligence vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.