A judge is considering a new trial for a Harlem man convicted in a 2007 fatal wreck.
Brandon Christopher Newman, 31, was sentenced to 22 years in prison after being found guilty of two counts of vehicular homicide, serious injury by vehicle, driving under the influence and reckless driving in a February 2010 trial.
The trial was Newman’s second. The first, in November 2008, was declared a mistrial when the jury could not reach a unanimous decision.
Newman was driving in foggy, damp conditions on Harlem-Grovetown Road early May 13, 2007, with his brother, Cameron Newman, 23, of Harlem; Mallory Jason, 19, of Martinez; and Sarah Boykin, 16, of Richmond County, when he lost control of his Dodge Quad Cab truck and hit a pine tree, police said.
The wreck killed Newman’s brother and Jason. Boykin was seriously injured.
Newman’s attorney, Vic Hawk, argued at the Friday hearing for a new trial based on new evidence. At Newman’s two trials, Hawk argued that a third man bumped the back of Newman’s truck, causing the wreck. Mike Lopez, a man who knew Newman and the third man but was close to neither, said the man admitted to him that he’d hit Newman’s truck causing him to lose control..
“He had told me that he had bumped the back of Brandon’s truck causing the wreck,” Lopez testified at the hearing.
Assistant District Attorney Joshua Smith argued that the defense had the opportunity to bring up that evidence in at least one of the two trials.
Hawk also argued that it was unlawful for the prosecutor in the second trial to bring up new evidence in closing arguments.
“In this case, the prosecutor knowingly ... interjected to the jury that it was Brandon Newman who requested the charges on the lesser included (offenses),” Hawk said.
Smith said the comment didn’t prejudice the jury against Newman.
Smith also argued that Hawk had adequate opportunities to bring up prior experience of his expert witness, the same witness Hawk said he wasn’t allowed to question about his institutional experience regarding a now-outdated machine the Georgia Bureau of Investigation used to determine blood alcohol levels.
Hawk also said that Newman, who had been drinking, wasn’t an impaired driver the night of the wreck. He said Newman’s blood alcohol level was inflated by faulty machines and procedures.
Superior Court Judge Carl C. Brown Jr. said he’d consider the arguments, review the attorneys’ briefs and trial transcripts before making a ruling on the request.