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3 of 3 DOCUMENTS The Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY) April 20, 2003 Sunday kentucky Ky Edition Correction Appended

Crossroads; Long sentence raises question: Was justice served?


BYLINE: LINDENBERGER MICHAEL HIGHLAND DEBORAH SECTION: NEWS; Pg. 1A LENGTH: 5211 words Byline: MICHAEL A. LINDENBERGER; Source: The Courier-Journal Dateline: HOPKINSVILLE, Ky. On Jan. 15, 2002, Demond Brown ran a red light at a Hopkinsville intersection. His Crown Victoria struck a Geo Metro carrying a mother and her daughter, killing both. He wasn't drunk and he wasn't on drugs. He admitted responsibility and showed remorse. He knew he would be punished. What he didn't know is that he would be convicted of two counts of first-degree murder and sentenced to 20 years in prison. Sitting in the witness box at his murder trial, 20-year-old Demond Brown wanted to make it clear to the jury that he didn't deliberately run the traffic light when his car hit and killed Debra and Megan Conklin. Instead, Brown - a shy man with a history of low-paying jobs and learning disabilities - made three damning admissions to Christian County Commonwealth's Attorney Rick Boling. Yes, he knew the traffic light was red just before his 1994 Ford Crown Victoria sailed through the intersection in January 2002 and broadsided the Conklins' Geo Metro. Yes, he knew running a red light could cause an accident. Yes, he knew car accidents could be deadly. "I should have stopped," Brown said. "I wished I'd stopped." Under questioning by his attorney, Brown had testified during his trial in January of this year that he hadn't intentionally run the red light. But his admissions to Boling were enough for jurors to take the groundbreaking step in Kentucky of convicting Brown of two counts of first-degree murder in an accident that involved neither drugs nor alcohol. DEBORAH HIGHLAND

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"He thought he was doing the right thing by being honest," said jury forewoman Kelley Hufford of Brown's admission that he saw the red light but didn't apply his brakes. "But it's because of his honesty the prosecutor was able to charge him with murder. "It was a Catch-22." What jurors didn't understand was that Brown thought all the lights in all four directions at the crossroads were red, and he believed that by the time he reached the intersection his light would be green. Without being told, jurors reached another understanding. Although they heard no testimony that would indicate Brown had been racing that night, several jurors said later they believed he was and that played a part in their decision to convict him. On March 19, Christian Circuit Judge John Atkins sentenced Brown, now 21, to two 20-year prison sentences, to be served concurrently. That will keep him behind bars for 17 years before he will be eligible for parole. In contrast, Larry Mahoney, who killed 27 people in an alcohol-related bus crash near Carrollton in 1988, served nine years in prison. Mahoney, whose blood-alcohol content had been nearly limit, was driving his pickup truck the wrong way on struck a bus returning from a trip to King's Island. years in prison but was let out after nine years for 2 1/2 times the legal Interstate 71 when he He was sentenced to 16 good behavior.

The verdict against Brown, a black man, by an all-white jury - and the long sentence - has stirred racial passions throughout Hopkinsville, which has the state's third-largest African-American population behind Louisville and Lexington. Six hundred of the city's 30,089 residents, white and black, turned out at a prayer service the Sunday after the January verdict. "When I first heard about this, I said to myself, 'Murder? Hell, this isn't murder. It's crazy,' " said the Rev. John Banks, president of the Hopkinsville-Christian County NAACP and a Baptist minister. But family and friends of the Conklins say the lengthy sentence can never equal the pain they have experienced since the wreck. "It completely turned my life upside down to lose my mother and my sister," said Melissa Figge, Debra Conklin's daughter and Megan's half sister. "It's been the toughest year of my entire life." THE ACCIDENT Trip home turns tragic On the night of Jan. 15, 2002, Megan Conklin was a month shy of her 16th birthday, and her mind was focused on getting her driver's license. The sophomore at Heritage Christian Academy didn't know it, but she was getting the keys to a restored classic car her father, Gerard, had kept since she was a child. Having just finished cheering for her school's high school basketball team,

Crossroads; Long sentence raises question: Was justice served? The Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY) April 20, 2003 Sunday kentucky Ky EditionCorrection Appended Megan got into her mother's car for the 20-minute ride home.

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Megan was close to her mother, who grew up in eastern Jefferson County. They were active in the school's evening Bible study and recently had returned from a trip to Israel, where they had retraced the steps of Jesus in Galilee. Teresa Burks, Megan's homeroom teacher, said Megan had been more than usually concerned with her faith since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The destruction of the World Trade Center had reminded her that "no one knows when their time is coming," Burks said. Demond Brown was also religious, a regular at Cedar Grove Baptist Church. Those who know him say Brown, 6 feet tall and 170 pounds with tight braids and a diamond stud earring, was shy and avoided confrontation. At the time of the accident, he was a temporary worker at the Arvin Meritor plant, earning $8 an hour to check suspension bars used on automobiles. Three weeks earlier, tired of being sleepy all the time, Brown had quit a second full-time job at Western State Hospital and switched to the day shift at Meritor. On the afternoon of the accident, Brown ended his shift, jumped into his Crown Victoria and steered toward home. Home was a house built for his family three years earlier by Habitat for Humanity. He shared it with his mother, Priscilla Lewis, and his younger brother, Tim Brown. When he got home that afternoon, Brown stretched out for a nap. He woke about a half-hour before he had to leave to pick up his new girlfriend, Latisha Leavell, who also worked at Meritor. He watched some television and then he and his brother, Tim, headed out about 9:30 p.m. When Leavell came out of the plant, she told Brown she was too tired to take her usual place at the wheel and reclined in the front passenger seat instead. Brown pulled out of the Meritor lot and made a left onto Pembroke Road. Behind him was Mike Kaylor, a fellow employee who was described by the prosecution and defense as having a love for fast cars. Brown accelerated on Pembroke and passed a Monte Carlo driven by Wayne A. Thomas of Christian County. Thomas would later testify that first Brown, then Kaylor, passed him at high speeds - and drove toward the intersection with the Martin Luther King Jr. Bypass a little more than a half-mile down the road. Police were never able to say how fast Brown was going; on the stand Brown said he may have been driving about 60 mph in the 55 mph zone. Kaylor, also having passed the Monte Carlo, was behind Brown as they came within about 400 feet of the intersection. Needing to make a right turn, he moved into the far right turning lane and began to slow down. Brown said later that he was momentarily distracted by Kaylor's headlights but clearly saw the red light ahead. "I put my foot off of the gas pedal and was about to hit the brake because I seen my light was red," he said in an interview from jail before being released

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on bond pending appeal. "But I glanced over there and seen their light go yellow to red. In my mind, since the light was yellow to red, I thought mine was going to turn green." THE SCENE 'Get my baby!' woman cries The first thing Brown felt was his car's airbag thumping against his face. He remembered thinking he'd hit a deer. The impact threw Leavell, who had reclined her seat, under the dash board which likely saved her life. Tim Brown, in the back, slammed into his brother's seat. None of the three was wearing a seat belt. Leavell's spleen was ruptured, and Tim Brown suffered minor injuries. Debra and Megan Conklin took the full brunt of the collision with the bigger Crown Victoria. Their tiny Geo Metro - hit on the passenger's side - went airborne, with the crumpled wreck coming down about 40 feet away. Brown said he stumbled out of his car and, dazed, watched as witnesses used cell phones to call for help. As rescue workers arrived, witnesses would later say, they heard Debra Conklin calling out, "Get my baby! Get my baby out!" Using the Jaws of Life, rescuers removed the Conklins from the car. Debra Conklin was taken to the local Jennie Stuart Medical Center. Megan was flown by helicopter to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn. Debra Conklin died at 11:20 p.m. of multiple injuries to her head and chest. Her daughter, Megan, died two hours later of internal injuries. THE PROSECUTION Charges unprecedented Boling has a reputation as a toughas-nails prosecutor. He's a man who expects people to follow the law. After weighing the facts, Boling made Kentucky history about 60 days after the accident by charging Brown with two counts of first-degree murder. Brown also was charged with two counts of wanton endangerment related to the injuries suffered by his brother and girlfriend. In Kentucky, a person can be guilty of murder in two ways, according to the state penal code. If someone intends to kill another person and then does it, that's murder, so long as the act was not committed "under extreme emotional distress." But the law also says murder can occur when "including but not limited to the operation of a motor vehicle under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to human life." Boling said he community said because he had red, but chose pursued murder charges against Brown because others in the they frequently saw him driving fast when he left work and plenty of time to slow down or stop after seeing his light was not to.

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"When you have that much of a total disregard for human life, at that point you've gotten to criminal conduct," Boling said. Previously, Boling pursued lesser charges of negligent homicide against a white man who had killed a youth in a car after running a red light in September 2000. Boling said race had nothing to do with the difference in the charges. That driver, Christopher Long, had thought the light was green, Boling said. Brown, he said, knew the light was red. Long has pleaded innocent, and his case is pending. Local and national legal experts said that Brown's charge and conviction for a fatal crash that does not involve alcohol or drugs is rare. In 2001, for instance, Jon Paul Lazartes became just the second sober driver in New York to be convicted of murder (second degree) after a wreck the year before in which two passengers in another car died. Lazartes had been driving his Mercedes in excess of 100 mph while in a cat-and-mouse game with another driver, police said. Lazartes was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison. In 1998, a driver was convicted of murder in New York after racing the wrong way on a busy street to skirt stalled traffic. He crashed into another car, killing a 91-year-old woman and injuring two others. Boling acknowledged the unprecedented nature of the charge in Kentucky but said the facts supported it. What Brown did, Boling said, was worse than causing a fatal wreck while drunk. "When you are drunk, your judgment is impaired. He had a clear mind and still chose to do what he did." Brown won't be eligible for early release other than parole because the law mandates that murderers and some other violent offenders must serve at least 85 percent of their sentences. Boling, who has been the commonwealth's attorney since January 2000, said that despite the criticism he's gotten about how he prosecuted the Brown case, he believes his chances for re-election in three years have been bolstered. He predicted that voters will, in time, see that he stuck to his duty, even under intense pressure. "The people elected me to do one thing: prosecute people. And that's what I did," he said. Not everyone in the community agrees with Boling's assessment. Walter Shamble, second vice president of the local chapter of the NAACP and the unofficial spokesman for the Brown family, said, "This thing has drawn so much attention I don't think Rick Boling would stand a chance at getting re-elected locally." THE TRIAL Witness made a deal Brown's trial began Jan. 21 and ended two days later.

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In the courtroom that morning, the first thing Brown noticed was the allwhite jury. The lone African-American potential juror had been removed from the pool by Judge Atkins during jury selection after the man said he didn't think he could be objective in the case, in part because his daughter was Megan's age. The original jury pool, Boling said, included more than one African American, but as with all jury pools, some people had been excused earlier or did not show up for the selection process. Sitting next to Brown was attorney Jim Carter, an experienced local lawyer who had represented defendants in at least 15 other murder cases. Brown's family primarily his grandmother, who retired after more than 30 years as a hospital housekeeper - pooled its money to pay for a good defense. Neither Brown's family nor his attorney would say how much the defense cost. That first day, the prosecution called Mike Kaylor to testify. Kaylor had been charged with one count of first-degree wanton endangerment for contributing to an atmosphere that had the potential to lead to an accident - a charge Boling and Kaylor's attorney, Sands Chewning, said would have been hard to sustain had Kaylor gone to trial. Chewning said the prosecution offered his client a no-risk option, to plead no contest to the charge, receive no jail time and have his record wiped clean by staying out of trouble for five years. On the morning Brown's trial began, Kaylor entered an Alford plea, not acknowledging guilt but admitting there was enough evidence to convict him. "When you have a jury of 12 people and two victims, you never know what will happen," Chewning said. "My client has a family and a good job, and he didn't want to take any risks." Kaylor admitted on the stand that, trailing Brown, he had seen the accident, gone home, changed his clothes and returned with his wife in another vehicle. "I was worried about leaving the scene as a witness. I thought I was going to get in trouble for that, so I panicked," Kaylor told the jury. But Kaylor maintained his innocence. "As far as I was concerned I didn't do anything wrong," Kaylor said on the stand. "But it got started somehow that I was racing when in fact I wasn't. I really don't know where it came from." He told the jury that he and Brown never drove side-by-side and never saw each other. Several jurors would later say they convicted Brown in part because they felt Kaylor and Brown must have been racing. Why else would Kaylor - who was not part of the accident - have been charged with a crime, some jurors later speculated in interviews for this story. Kaylor also told the jury that he saw Brown apply his brakes briefly before the collision. "I know I saw brake lights," Kaylor said. Under questioning by Carter, Brown told the jury he thought the light was

Crossroads; Long sentence raises question: Was justice served? The Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY) April 20, 2003 Sunday kentucky Ky EditionCorrection Appended changing and never saw the Conklins' Metro.

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"I wanted to say I was sorry when the accident happened," Brown said on the stand. "It's hard on y'all and hard on me. . . . I just can't believe I took two peoples lives." Carter would say after the trial that he had tried to help Brown make the distinction that he had not meant to run the light. He conceded neither he nor Brown had been able to articulate that clearly to the jury. A police officer testified earlier in the trial that Brown had told him at the scene of the accident that he had been trying to time the light - and that Brown had said he thought the light was changing. In his closing argument, Carter told jurors the wreck had been an accident, but - in a development he blamed on a lack of time - he did not offer a rationale for how Brown might have thought the light was going to turn before he reached it. He told the jury that even if they did not believe that his client thought the light would change, they did not have enough evidence to find Brown guilty of a crime. "Even if he did run the red light intentionally," he said, "you must find that his actions were a gross deviation from the standard of care a normal person would have shown." Running a red light, no matter how purposefully, does not meet that standard, he argued. "People run red lights. It happens. Just a few weeks ago at Ninth and Virginia, I saw a police officer - a police officer - run through a red light. I bet a number of you have run a red light. I have done it. But does running a red light make a felony crime?" Carter said the fact that the jury was not persuaded that Brown had not intended to run the light played a major role in its decision. "That's it! The key point of the whole case," Carter said. ". . . It might very well have made all the difference in the world." THE VERDICT Brown's testimony was key From inside the jury box, there was sympathy for Brown but wholesale agreement with the prosecutor's arguments, according to six jurors who were interviewed after the trial. "I saw the prosecutor's main point," juror Mark Burroughs, 39, said. ". . . That to know to enter the intersection on a red light was what Brown's crime was. And to know that it could cause harm and possible death and all that. That's what caused him to be guilty." Burroughs said hearing Brown admit he knew those things on the stand cinched it for him. "If he hadn't have been on the stand, it would have left us to figure it out."

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Carter said it was Brown's decision whether he wanted to take the stand. Brown wanted to apologize because thoughts of the victims haunted him, Carter said. Hufford, 35, the jury forewoman, said she thought Carter had miscalculated by figuring that if his client told the truth, expressed remorse and took responsibility for the crime, the jury would not convict him of murder. Brown "did exactly what he was supposed to," said Hufford, whose husband is black. "He sat up there and told the truth. We knew he was remorseful. "But we couldn't go by our heart. We had to go by the law and what the judge's instructions were. Yes, we knew that by convicting him of firstdegree murder we were being severe, but we also knew we had to follow the law." Jurors also said a factor in Brown's conviction was a lack of a spirited defense by Carter. "When you sit there and admit you are guilty, why do you even need a trial?" said juror Ken Wells, a 61-yearold quality-assurance engineer for Plymouth tube factory. Carter "never really, in my opinion, . . . presented a case," he said. Juror Kathy Cannon, 45, said the murder verdict was relatively easy to come to, even as it broke some of the jurors' hearts to impose it. Jurors, she said, kept returning to those five words: "extreme indifference to human life." "There was no way around it," Cannon said. "What made it hard even to get it lowered was the fact that the kid, the kid himself, admitted on the stand to seeing the red light three or four different times as he was coming up to it and continued to run it." But there was an additional factor in at least some jurors' minds that led to Brown's conviction, some said after the trial. Juror Roberta Dorsey, 64, said hearing Kaylor say he wasn't racing put the idea in her mind that Brown and Kaylor indeed must have been racing. That belief, she said, made it easier to convict Brown of so serious an offense. If Kaylor had been telling the truth about the racing, Dorsey asked, why would he have pleaded no contest to the charges? "You just have to use your common sense," Dorsey said. "When this kid on the stand says he was on the right and then says he takes off and tries to hide himself, well he would have to feel guilty, have to feel guilty for something." Wells said he also felt that Kaylor's presence on the stand made him think that he had been involved in more than he was admitting to. "He said, 'People say we were racing but we weren't.' But that actually happened. I think they did that." Kaylor was not charged with racing, nor did he admit guilt in connection with Brown's accident. Juror Burroughs, an employee at the General Electric plant in Madisonville, said: "They never came out and said they were racing, but they didn't say he wasn't. And as the days progressed, there were jurors who said there was talk that those two had raced before."

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That talk, Carter said, had been spread throughout the community in the weeks after the accident. If jurors based their decisions, even in part, on what they had heard or read outside of the trial, their verdict could be tainted, Carter said. Burroughs said he doesn't know from what sources other jurors based their judgments that Kaylor and Brown were racing, but Burroughs said it was clear to him that it was not just from what had been said at the trial. "Where they got it from, I have no idea," Burroughs said. Boling acknowledged that those rumors circulated in the community and that detectives interviewed Meritor employees in an unsuccessful attempt to seek evidence of racing. He said he wasn't concerned that jurors might have heard those rumors. "What was important was their ability to strip out what was important about each piece of evidence," Boling said. "And this jury was as good as any in that regard." THE SENTENCE Jurors shocked by penalty If the verdict was easily reached, a sentence recommendation was not. When the jurors walked out of their sentencing deliberations, almost all were in tears, some later said. Several jurors, including Wells, Hufford and Burroughs, said they had expected to be able to impose a lighter sentence on Brown after the murder convictions. "I think we were kind of shocked, seriously," Wells said. "I was thinking he'd get two, three, five years and then probation." Jurors are not made aware of potential punishments, at least 20 years in prison for the murder convictions, until after they have completed the guilt phase of a trial. Hufford said the realization that Brown would be locked up for at least 17 of those 20 years before being eligible for parole was emotionally devastating to her and others on the jury. Had they known how severe the penalty would be, some said they might have reconsidered their original verdict. "It probably should have been manslaughter, you know," Wells said. "But when you don't know the sentence, and with the way it was laid out for us, we found him guilty on the guidelines we had." The judge instructed the jurors that they needed to start with the most severe charge, murder. If they could not agree that the case met all the requirements, then they should move on to the next charge. The jury had eight choices - two counts of murder, two counts of manslaughter in the second degree, two counts of reckless homicide and two counts of wanton endangerment.

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Because of the length of his sentence, Brown's case automatically will be appealed to the state Supreme Court. Meanwhile, Brown has been released from jail on a $20,000 property bond. A Hopkinsville couple, Marshall and Betty Gray, put up the equity they had in their home to secure Brown's release. Carter, whose involvement with Brown ended after he filed a notice of appeal on March 21 on behalf of his former client, said the case will stay with him for two reasons. "One is that Brown has the kind of good record and overall life circumstances that I don't get to see in my position very often. . . . He's just a good kid. "The other reason is that there is, you like to believe, a balance to the law," Carter said. "But there is no balance here. Justice is way out of balance." THE REACTION Sentence draws protest On March 19, the day of Brown's sentencing, court officers were greeted by banners being waved in support of Brown. "It interests me that a black man has an accident and somebody gets killed and he is charged with murder," Isaac Richmond, national director of the Commission on Religion and Racism, a civil-rights organization based in Memphis, Tenn., said the day of Brown's sentencing. "We think something is going on real wrong." His group has asked the U.S. Justice Department's civil-rights division to investigate Boling's office. Boling said he welcomes an investigation and said he stands by his decision to charge Brown with murder. Outside protesters who stir up racial discord do a disservice to Hopkinsville, Boling said. Located on the Kentucky-Tennessee border about 10 miles from the Fort Campbell Army post and the enormous concrete monument to Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy, Hopkinsville is home to 30,089 residents. Mayor Richard Liebe said as in most cities with diverse populations race relations in Hopkinsville, where onethird of the population is African American, aren't perfect. "But in moments of crisis, Hopkinsville really comes together and shows a sense of community," he said. Liebe said that nearly all the publicly expressed opinions about Brown's case have questioned the verdict and the jury makeup. Black residents were almost unanimous in their concern, he said. At Farrell's Hamburgers - a tiny but bustling downtown fixture since 1936, where fat and tasty burgers are $1.11 - talk of the verdict has been common since the trial.

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"He needs a new trial," Shatonya Wilson said from behind the counter. "No offense to y'all - I love everybody," she said, referring to white customers in the restaurant, "but in the commonwealth, a black man don't stand a chance. That's the God's honest truth." Farther down the counter, employee Deborah Swanagan, 46, and also black, agreed. "And it's not just the little people who come in here who think so," she said. "A lot of the big white people in town who come in feel the same way." Liebe said many white residents have also spoken out. "I think it is sick," said Kim Doss, a designer at a Main Street florist shop. "In Hopkinsville? It's absolutely stupid for them to have had an all-white jury. I wouldn't want an all-white jury, and I am white. "America is just not like that anymore." The Rev. Lee Huckleberry, a white minister from Hopkinsville's First Christian Church Disciples of Christ, said the murder charges would not have been filed if Brown were white or the Conklins black. "The punishment in no way fits the crime," Huckleberry said. Austin Moss, a black executive with the local Jennie Stuart Medical Center, said the trial has increased racial awareness in Hopkinsville like no other event in recent years. Besides the rally, he said, talk throughout the city has focused on how whites and blacks get along. "The Demond Brown case has been sort of a spark that triggered a higher consciousness of race relations here," Moss said. THE AFTERMATH Support lifts Brown Brown now spends his days looking for work. Since he was released from jail, he's spent one day at a factory, a job he got through Quality Personnel, the agency that had earlier placed him at the Meritor plant. But despite filling out about a dozen job applications, he's had no takers. After the one interview he landed, the company sent him a letter saying that what it learned in a background check prevented it from hiring him. Work always has been a big part of his life. While in high school, Brown worked in the dietary department of Western State Hospital. He delivered food trays to patients and picked them up when they were done with their meals. After high school, he took a second job, the night shift at Meritor. He worked both jobs until a month before the accident. "He worked from sunup to sundown," said his mother, Priscilla Lewis. "He do know

Crossroads; Long sentence raises question: Was justice served? The Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY) April 20, 2003 Sunday kentucky Ky EditionCorrection Appended how to work. He gives me money. He gives his grandma money. He's a sweet, loving, kind, gentle guy."

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The prospect of his living the next 20 years in prison is almost as baffling to Brown as is the concept of himself as a killer. But he said he's not scared anymore. "I just keep praying," Brown said. "That's about the only thing I can do." Brown said he thinks about the Conklins every day. He regrets the accident and their deaths. He also feels that he has disappointed his family. His spirits have been buoyed by the support he's received in the community, he said. Fund-raisers have been held and many churches in the area have contributed to his legal defense fund, Shamble said. No one has said anything negative to Brown. "They just (keep) telling me they hate to see me have to go through this stuff, he said. "And just keep on doing what I was doing before this happened." "It feels good, everybody supporting me. I'm just blessed." THE APPEAL Winning new trial difficult Appealing Brown's conviction to the Kentucky Supreme Court won't be easy, legal experts say. University of Louisville law school Professor Les Abramson said that given the unusual nature of the charge, Brown's attorneys, when they are hired, could argue that he was a victim of selective prosecution, but that is hard to prove. If others in similar cases were not similarly charged, and Brown could show that he'd been singled out for so-called "constitutionally prohibited" reasons - such as race, gender or religion - "he might have a good claim," Abramson said. Some members of the community have insisted that Brown's conviction by an all-white jury ought to be grounds for appeal, but Abramson and other legal experts said that would only be grounds for an appeal if Carter had raised the issue during the trial and if he could argue that prosecutors had removed black potential jurors because of their race. Carter said he was aware of no legal basis to ask the judge to expand the jury pool because it was almost all white. "There is no law that says a jury has to be made up of your peers, when it comes to your age or race," Carter said. But in at least one other nearby case, in Murray, a judge delayed jury selection in a trial in order to boost numbers of African Americans in the jury pool, said Tom Glover, chief public defender for Western Kentucky. Banks, the NAACP chapter president, said he faulted Judge Atkins for not insisting that the jury was diverse, especially in Hopkinsville. "He should have known that that isn't fair, that something wasn't right, when the jury was all white," Banks said.

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Abramson and others said that any appeal of Brown's case will have to argue that errors were made during the trial or that he was represented by incompetent counsel. Boling said he was confident the verdict will be upheld. "This was basically an error-free trial." The Conklins' friends and family members already feel justice has been served. "By the end of the trial, all the animosity and anger went out of me," Catherine Wyatt, Megan's grandmother, said recently. "But I don't think he got an unfair sentence for both of them being dead. "Nobody wins, you know? "But even so, his mother can go and see him and can hold him and touch him," said Wyatt, of Harrod's Creek. "I have to go to the cemetery and look down to see them ever again." Reach the reporters at mlindenberger@courier-journal.com and dhighland@courier-journal.com. LOAD-DATE: August 23, 2003 LANGUAGE: ENGLISH CORRECTION: published Aug. 15, 2003 p.A2 Because of a reporter's error, a story April 20 incorrectly said that a Christian County jury was the first in Kentucky to convict someone who was not drinking, using drugs or speeding of murder for causing a fatal accident. In 1991, a coal truck driver ran a light and killed an oncoming driver. His murder conviction was overturned by the state Supreme Court. GRAPHIC: DemondBrownMeganConklinDebraConklin; BY BILL LUSTER, THE COURIER-JOURNALA makeshift memorial marked the intersection of Pembroke Road and the Martin Luther King Jr. Bypass, where Debra and Megan Conklin suffered fatal injuries in a January 2002 car accident. The other car's driver, Demond Brown, said he thought his light was about to turn green. BY BILL LUSTER, THE COURIER-JOURNALDemond Brown said that he saw red lights in all four directions of this intersection near Hopkinsville and thought that his light was about to turn green. His Ford Crown Victoria rammed into the side of a Geo Metro. BY BILL LUSTER, THE COURIER-JOURNALProsecutor Rick Boling said murder charges were warranted because of "a total disregard for human life." BY SAM UPSHAW JR., THE COURIER-JOURNALJudge John Atkins sentenced Brown to the minimum penalty of two concurrent 20-year prison sentences, which the jury had recommended. COURIER-JOURNAL PHOTOS AT LEFT BY SAM UPSHAW JR.; AT RIGHT BY BULL LUSTERAttorney Jim Carter, right, represented Brown, pictured in a post-trial hearing at left. "He's just a good kid," Carter said. "Justice is way out of balance." BY BILL LUSTER, THE COURIER-JOURNAL"I think it is sick," said Kim Doss, a designer at a Main Street florist shop. "In Hopkinsville? It's absolutely stupid for them to have had an all-white jury."Map that shows the location of the site of accident (SEE LIBRARY MICROFILM OR LIBRARY KIOSK PDF PAGES) Copyright 2003 The Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY)

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