Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Judge denies bond request of woman sentenced in tow-truck driver's death

LANCE BENZEL Updated: December 19, 2012 at 12:00 am

A judge Wednesday denied a woman’s request to be let out of prison on bond pending an appeal of her conviction in a tow-truck driver’s dragging death.

Fourth Judicial District Judge Jann P. DuBois ruled that Detra Farries, 33, will not receive a so-called appeal bond.

Farries’ attorneys initially made the request in September, within days of filing a notice of their intent to appeal her March conviction in the Feb. 23, 2011, dragging-death of tow-truck driver Allen Lew Rose.

Appeals bonds — a little-used instrument under Colorado law — allow convicts to postpone their prison sentences while appealing a verdict. They are rarely requested and seldom granted in El Paso County, attorneys say.

Winning a bond generally means persuading a judge there is a strong chance of a conviction being overturned, said Tracey Eubanks, a Colorado Springs defense attorney and president of the local chapter of the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar.

“Typically, it’s a rather high threshold,” said Eubanks, who is unaffiliated with the case. “I have seen very few people get out on an appeal bond.”

At a brief hearing attended by Rose’s widow and two children Wednesday, public defender Eydie Elkins said Farries stands by her claim she didn’t know Rose was being dragged behind her and shouldn’t have been punished so severely. Elkins flagged Farries’ lack of a criminal record and said she wouldn’t drive if released.

Farries’ attorneys argue that Colorado’s hit-and-run law is unconstitutional because it doesn’t require proof that a driver was aware of the crash — an argument likely to form the basis for the appeal.

Rose’s widow, Renee, who spoke in opposition, suggested Farries was angling for time with her eight children over the holidays.

“Why shouldn’t she be in jail? That’s where she was sent,” she said.

In handing down her ruling, DuBois noted that the jury not only convicted Farries of hit-and-run but also found that the crime resulted in a “torturous, cruel and painful death,” paving the way for enhanced penalties against her.

The Court of Appeals set a March deadline for appellate briefs.

Farries was convicted of manslaughter, vehicular homicide and hit-and-run at the February trial. Witnesses said Rose was ensnared by a loose cable and dragged more than a mile behind Farries’ SUV as she fled a tow-in-progress.

Farries’ attorneys said her SUV was so full of belongings and in such poor condition she couldn’t see or hear his cries of agony.

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