February 28, 2011
Prosecutors won't be filing charges this week against the woman accused of driving the vehicle involved in the dragging death of a tow-truck driver, 4th Judicial District Attorney Dan May said Monday.
May said his office still is "at the investigative stage" and a decision about charges against Detra Dione Farries will not be made until March 9.
Farries will make her first court appearance at 3:15 p.m. Wednesday for her advisement after being arrested Friday on suspicion of manslaughter — a felony that carries a maximum prison term of six years in prison under Colorado sentencing guidelines.
Monday's news conference was the first held by police and prosecutors on the case, which has become a flash point for many in the community who have questioned why Farries isn't being charged with murder.
Manslaughter charges are easier to prove than murder, as prosecutors must show that a person “recklessly caused the death of another person,” even if a defendant didn't knowingly commit the act.
“It’s been talked about that mental state is an important issue,” May said. “Certainly if someone knows what they’re doing or intends for a certain outcome, that has certain consequences.
“On the other side, if someone doesn’t know what they’re doing, we then review the laws of what a reasonable prudent person would do under those circumstances.”
Farries' first court appearance had been set for Monday afternoon, but that was postponed until Wednesday. She was being held at the El Paso County jail on a $50,000 bond and has since bonded out, according to the 4th Judicial District Attorney's Office.
Colorado Springs police suspect Farries was at the wheel of a GMC sport-utility vehicle that dragged Allen Rose, an Iraq war veteran and part-owner of J & J Towing, for more than a mile on Wednesday.
Rose was trying to tow the SUV when someone got in the vehicle and drove away, witnesses said. Rose was chasing after the vehicle when his legs became snagged in a trailing tow cable.
May said he watched a portion of Farries’ interview with police.
"She was cooperative all along," May said.
Three prosecutors with the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office have helped Colorado Springs police with their investigation, May said. The attorneys belonged to two units — a vehicular homicide unit and the office’s homicide unit.
Piecing together what happened Wednesday has been particularly difficult given the enormity of the crime scene, which stretched more than a mile. May said “well over 50 witnesses” have been interviewed.
Police have also reviewed surveillance tapes of the dragging death from surrounding businesses, according to Sgt. Steve Noblitt, Colorado Springs police spokesman. He declined to say, however, how much of the dragging was on camera.
May emphasized that the investigation is still ongoing and asked anyone with information about Rose’s death to call the Colorado Springs Police Department at 444-7000.
“This is just a horrific incident and it affected everybody involved,” May said. “I’ve seen seasoned Colorado Springs police detectives who worked a number of cases and homicides in the past that were emotionally affected.
“It’s something that’s just unimaginable what Mr. Rose would have gone through.”
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