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Judge considers new trial for woman convicted in fatal 2006 wreck

Posted: March 26, 2014 - 12:06am
McNeely  Valerie Rowell
Valerie Rowell
McNeely

A judge is considering a new trial for a woman convicted of murder in connection to a fatal 2006 wreck.

Nebula Denise McNeely, 50, also known as Denise Yvonne Williams, was found guilty in May 2008 of two counts of murder, one count of feticide, two counts of serious injury by vehicle, cruelty to children, fleeing and attempting to elude and misdemeanor shoplifting.

Then Superior Court Judge Duncan Wheale sentenced McNeely to three consecutive life sentences – one without the possibility of parole – plus 26 years in prison.

McNeely’s attorney, Brandi Payne, asked Superior Court Judge petitioned Judge Sheryl B. Jolly at a hearing Friday afternoon to consider granting McNeely a new trial.

“She steadfastly professed her innocence,” McNeely’s trial attorney, David Weber, testified at the hearing.

Police say McNeely and Tiara Maria Smith, 28, fled the Marshall’s store in Mullins Crossing shopping center after they were caught shoplifting. Smith was driving when her SUV sped through the red light on Washington Road at Bobby Jones Expressway and hit a car.

Martinez residents Margaret Patricia Branton, 63, her son, Lonnie Turner, 37, were killed.

Turner’s pregnant wife, Mary, was in the backseat with the couple’s 4-year-old son. Her unborn child also died.

Smith pled guilty to the charges in September 2007 and was sentenced to life plus 10 years.

Weber said he had ample time to discuss the case and potential courses of action with McNeely before the trial.

“She didn’t think it was right that she be held responsible for the conduct of the driver,” Weber said.

Payne asked for 60 days to submit a brief in support of the motion for a new trial. Jolly agreed to the 60 days and gave Assistant District Attorney Madonna Little additional time to respond.

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