The prosecutions of three Miami University students charged with helping an underage student get drunk before she was struck and killed by a freight train were dropped because a judge said the women’s statements were improperly obtained.
Butler County Judge Rob Lyons ruled Friday that the statements of Kristina Sicker and Kathleen Byrne cannot legally be used against them because the detective who questioned them did not give the women the Miranda warning advising the women of their rights to obtain an attorney and avoid making statements that can be used against them.
Police used “an element of trickery” to illicit their incriminating responses, Lyons said.
The case of a third student, Christine Carr, also was dropped because of problems with her statements.
Five women were charged with giving alcohol to Beth Speidel, 19, before her death April 14. Speidel became separated from her friends and was killed while walking away from campus about a mile from her dorm. Her blood-alcohol content was 0.229, nearly triple the 0.08 legal limit for Ohio drivers.
The case against another woman, Danielle Davis, was settled last month when she agreed to perform community service and attend an alcohol education program. Prosecutors say they have enough evidence for the case of the fifth woman, Maureen Grady, to move forward. Her trial is scheduled for Jan. 24.
Prosecutors are appealing the rulings for Sicker and Byrne at the Ohio 12th District Court of Appeals in Middletown, and Carr’s case will be refiled if the appeals are successful, Assistant Prosecutor Michael Baker said.
Davis, Kristina Sicker, Christine Carr and Kathleen Byrne were accused of allowing Speidel to drink in their apartment. Grady is accused of supplying alcohol to Speidel at Pachinko Bar in Oxford, according to court records.
Information from: The Cincinnati Enquirer, http://www.enquirer.com
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