Sperry man convicted in highway death of ODOT worker
BY LAURA SUMMERS World Correspondent
Saturday, March 02, 2013
3/02/13 at 5:42 AM
BARTLESVILLE - A Sperry man was found guilty of first-degree manslaughter Friday in the death of an Oklahoma Department of Transportation worker.
A Washington County jury deliberated for seven hours before convicting Deven Wayne Franklin, 20, on three charges in connection with the crash that killed Ira Henderson, 42.
The jury recommended a four-year prison term for Franklin.
Henderson, of Bartlesville, died at the scene of the Nov. 30, 2011, accident on U.S. 75 south of Bartlesville after he was struck by Franklin's car while working in a construction zone.
Iva Yeahquo, a driver who witnessed the accident, testified tearfully about seeing Henderson flying through the air.
"I did see him as he hit the ground, and I could see as he rolled ... ." Yeahquo told the jury. "He was in an awkward pile that did not look good. My thought was that he couldn't possibly have made it."
The jury, which was seated Monday, reached an impasse after five hours of deliberation, but Associate District Judge Russell Vaclaw ordered the group to continue trying to reach verdicts.
Two hours later the jury returned with an announcement that it had found Franklin guilty of felony first-degree manslaughter, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Jurors recommended no additional time for the drug convictions.
Vaclaw set an April 15 sentencing for Franklin, who has been jailed on $250,000 bail for more than a year.
Defense attorney Kristy Sanders had urged the jury to find Franklin guilty of negligent homicide, arguing that the crash was the result of a diabetic episode.
Franklin's blood-sugar level was greater than 500 at the time of the crash, evidence indicated.
"He told you he was confused," Sanders told the jury. "He told you he didn't know where he was, and he told you he felt faint and he drove his car. You as a jury could find because Deven didn't take his insulin, that is reckless disregard for others. That is what happened in this case."
Prosecutors argued that the accident was caused by Franklin's smoking marijuana.
Franklin acknowledged on the stand Thursday that he had smoked marijuana before the accident.
"Mr. Franklin made a mistake that he can't take back," Assistant District Attorney Jared Sigler said. "He made a decision to ingest marijuana on the morning of Nov. 30."
State officials dedicated a portion of U.S. 75 as the Ira Lee Henderson Memorial Highway in September.
Original Print Headline: Man is guilty in highway death
Deven Wayne Franklin: His convictions include felony first-degree manslaughter