1 Mississippi High School 2014 Mock Trial Competition The Mock Trial Program is a project of the Young Lawyers Division of The Mississippi Bar Adapted with permission from the New Jersey State Bar Foundation. The original case from 1999 was written by the Hon. William E. Nugent and Mark E. Roddy, Esq., former chairs of the Foundation s Mock Trial Committee, in consultation with Dr. John Brick. Dr. Brick prepared the exhibits for the case and permitted the use of excerpts from his textbook, Drugs, The Brain and Behavior: The Pharmacology of Abuse and Dependence. The 2007 version of the case was updated by Ronald C. Appleby, Jr., Esq., current chair of the Foundation s Mock Trial Committee; Nick Sewitch, Esq.,formerly of the Middlesex County, NJ Prosecutor s Office; and Dr. Robert Pandina, director of the Center of Alcohol Studies at Rutgers University.
2 IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF FORD COUNTY, MISSISSIPPI INDICTMENT NO CR The State of Mississippi vs. Sly Weeks, Defendant Murder Miss. Code Ann Felony DUI Death Miss. Code Ann (5) NOTE: All characters, institutions, names, events, circumstances and places are fictitious. INTRODUCTION AND DIRECTIVES Sly Weeks would have started his college career in September of Instead, he faces criminal prosecution for murder and felony DUI death. If convicted on either charge, he will likely be sentenced to a significant term of imprisonment. The Ford County prosecutor has assigned her top trial attorneys to prosecute Sly. The county prosecutor believes that Sly should be appropriately punished for causing the senseless and untimely death of high school sophomore Rivers Applewhite. The prosecutor also believes that a conviction in this high publicity case will help other teenagers to understand the seriousness of underage drinking and perhaps deter such underage drinking in the future. Within hours of the death of Rivers Applewhite, Sly s parents, who were distraught over Sly s drinking, hired the top criminal defense attorneys in the state to defend him. Please follow these directives: The witnesses in the case may be either male or female. The parties may not contest the qualifications of the two experts in the field of alcohol and its effects on human behavior, the central nervous system and motor and other functional skills. However, for this year s case, objections can and should be made if the experts attempt to testify outside of their area of expertise. Student-lawyers may establish the qualifications of an expert during direct examination if they decide it is tactically advantageous to do so. It is to be assumed that the math used to calculate the experts results is correct. Detective Montgomery is a fact witness not an expert. However, the detective may testify to the autopsy results and cause of death and to the results of the blood test of Sly Weeks. All witness statements are signed and certified. If asked, a witness must acknowledge that he or she signed the statement and certification on the date indicated. Student attorneys may not ask experts questions about alcohol from materials or information not included in this case. The defendant has a constitutional (Fifth Amendment) privilege against selfincrimination. No adverse inference may be drawn from his refusal to testify, and no one may comment on his silence or on his failure to testify. Teams may have a student sit at the defense counsel table to play the defendant. The defendant must remain silent. For the purposes of this mock trial problem, Defendant Sly Weeks is considered a male. However, if a team elects to have a defendant sitting at counsel table, the role can be played by either a male or female. Electing to have a defendant sitting at counsel table will not impact that team s score.
3 STATEMENT OF FACTS May 1, 2012, was the night of the junior prom at Rosedale High School. The prom was held from 8 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. in the luxurious midtown facility of Rosedale Catering. Sly Weeks, Lee Lincoln, Alex Austin and Jamie Jefferson were among the many students who attended the prom. The students were greeted at the door by teacher and parent chaperones. There is no evidence that any students were drinking before or during the prom. The previous day all students who intended to attend the prom were required to sign a declaration not to use drugs or alcohol before or after the prom. Students acknowledged in the declaration that violation of their promise would result in suspension, not graduating with the senior class and a delay in the award of a diploma until September 1, Following the prom, an all-night after prom, providing substance-free entertainment, was held in the gym of the high school. The after prom, which was chaperoned by parents of the students, had become a popular tradition at Rosedale High School. Unfortunately, a significant number of students did not attend the chaperoned after prom. Sly Weeks was one such student. Sly Weeks and Lee Lincoln were students who lived in the riverside community of Rosedale, Mississippi. Outside of Rosedale were a series of outing clubs containing not much more than 160 upscale private cabins, tucked away on the riverside of the Mississippi River levee between the towns of Rosedale and Benoit. Rosedale is located to the north, and Benoit is located to the south. A riverside ordinance prohibits swimming on the river s sandbars after dark and prohibits the use of the sandbars for any purpose after 10:00 p.m. However, because of its undeveloped surroundings and isolation, teenagers often use the sandbars near Benoit at night. Sly Weeks, Lee Lincoln and other students thought that boating near Benoit following the prom would be romantic, adventurous and fun. Following the prom, Sly and other students drove to the Benoit Outing Club, entered their parents powerboats, and piloted the boats to the riverside at Benoit. Some of the students brought beer and champagne. Many of the students, including Sly, were drinking. A sophomore named Rivers Applewhite, who had come to Benoit with a group of her friends to hang out and swim, disappeared after two boats piloted by Sly Weeks and Alex Austin sped by the area where she was swimming. Her body was found several hours later. Following an investigation into the circumstances of River Applewhite s death, the Ford County prosecutor scheduled a court hearing to have the court order Sly Weeks, who was 17 years old, to stand trial as an adult. The prosecutor was successful and Sly, who is facing trial as an adult, has been indicted by a Ford County Grand Jury. In a series of pre-trial rulings, the trial judge has determined that Dr. Shannon Springfield and Dr. Chris Carson are qualified to testify as experts about alcohol and its effects; that the sample of blood taken from Sly Weeks at the hospital on the morning of May 2, 2012, is admissible; that the facts upon which the experts relied in forming their opinions, as set forth in their respective witness statements, are admissible during their testimony at trial, and have taken judicial notice that 0.08% is the legal limit of blood alcohol concentration for anyone, including minors.
4 STIPULATIONS 1. Dr. Springfield and Dr. Carson are experts in the field of alcohol and its effects. 2. The exhibits are authentic. Their admission into evidence cannot be objected to based on lack of authenticity. 3. Witness statements are signed and certified by the witnesses. 4. The blood sample taken from Sly Weeks at the hospital was properly drawn, preserved and analyzed. Parties may not dispute either the reliability of the sample or the blood alcohol concentration. The results of the sample may be admitted at trial through the testimony of the experts, through the testimony of Detective Montgomery or by stipulation of counsel. 5. The results of the autopsy are stipulated. Detective Montgomery, who was present at the autopsy, may testify about the autopsy results. 6. To the extent recited in their witness statements, the experts reliance upon the investigation conducted by Detective Montgomery, the other witness statements and the 2:20 a.m. time reported by bait shop owner Denise Roddy may not be objected to as hearsay during the testimony of the experts. 7. The student playing Alex Austin cannot admit to running over Rivers Applewhite, even on cross-examination. 8. For the purposes of this mock trial, assume that there is no law that considers that people under the age of 21 with a blood alcohol content of.02 are legally intoxicated. In other words, a BAC of 0.08% is the standard for intoxication across the board, no matter the age of the defendant. 9. All witnesses are aware of the Riverside Ordinance and may testify to its contents. The attorneys may refer to the Ordinance at any time during the trial if they choose to do so. A certified copy of the ordinance is not needed. Prosecution Lee Lincoln Detective Merrion Montgomery Dr. Shannon Springfield WITNESSES Defense Alex Austin Jamie Jefferson Dr. Chris Carson EXHIBITS 1. Blood Alcohol Curve for Sly Weeks Defense Expert s Exhibit 2. Blood Alcohol Curve for Sly Weeks Prosecution Expert s Exhibit 3. Relationship between Alcohol Intoxication and Behavior Chart 4. Drugs, the Brain and Behavior: The Pharmacology of Abuse and Dependence Excerpts from Chapter 6 (reprinted with permission) 5. Riverside Ordinance
5 The State of Mississippi vs. Sly Weeks, Defendant IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF FORD COUNTY, MISSISSIPPI INDICTMENT NO CR Murder Miss. Code Ann Felony DUI Death Miss. Code Ann (5) COUNT ONE The Grand Jurors of the State of Mississippi for the County of Ford, upon their oaths present that Sly Weeks, on or about May 2, 2012, in the waters off of Benoit, Mississippi, County of Ford, and within the jurisdiction of this Court, did recklessly cause the death of Rivers Applewhite while acting with a depraved heart, regardless of human life, without any premeditated design to effect her death; contrary to the provisions of Miss. Code Ann (b) and against the peace and dignity of the State of Mississippi. COUNT TWO The Grand Jurors of the State of Mississippi for the County of Ford, upon their oaths present that Sly Weeks, on or about May 2, 2012, in the waters off of Benoit, Mississippi, County of Ford, and within the jurisdiction of this Court, did cause the death of Rivers Applewhite negligently operating a motor vehicle, to-wit: a boat, while intoxicated, contrary to the provisions of Miss. Code Ann (5) and against the peace and dignity of the State of Mississippi. NOTE: In Mississippi, a person who, while operating a motor vehicle or boat while intoxicated, causes an accident resulting in a death may be prosecuted for felony DUI death or murder. Felony DUI death is punishable by a term of imprisonment of 5 to 25 years. Murder is punishable by life in prison. LEGAL AUTHORITY Miss. Code Ann Homicide; murder defined; capital murder; lesser-included offenses. 1) The killing of a human being without the authority of law by any means or in any manner shall be murder in the following cases: a) When done with deliberate design to effect the death of the person killed, or of any human being; b) When done in the commission of an act eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved heart, regardless of human life, although without any premeditated design to effect the death of any particular individual; c) When done without any design to effect death by any person engaged in the commission of any felony other than rape, kidnapping, burglary, arson, robbery, sexual battery, unnatural intercourse with any child under the age of twelve (12), or nonconsensual unnatural intercourse with mankind, or felonious abuse and/or battery of a child in violation of subsection (2) of Section , or in any attempt to commit such felonies; d) When done with deliberate design to effect the death of an unborn child.
6 2) The killing of a human being without the authority of law by any means or in any manner shall be capital murder in the following cases: a) Murder which is perpetrated by killing a peace officer or fireman while such officer or fireman is acting in his official capacity or by reason of an act performed in his official capacity, and with knowledge that the victim was a peace officer or fireman. For purposes of this paragraph, the term "peace officer" means any state or federal law enforcement officer, including, but not limited to, a federal park ranger, the sheriff of or police officer of a city or town, a conservation officer, a parole officer, a judge, senior status judge, special judge, district attorney, legal assistant to a district attorney, county prosecuting attorney or any other court official, an agent of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division of the State Tax Commission, an agent of the Bureau of Narcotics, personnel of the Mississippi Highway Patrol, and the employees of the Department of Corrections who are designated as peace officers by the Commissioner of Corrections pursuant to Section , and the superintendent and his deputies, guards, officers and other employees of the Mississippi State Penitentiary; b) Murder which is perpetrated by a person who is under sentence of life imprisonment; c) Murder which is perpetrated by use or detonation of a bomb or explosive device; d) Murder which is perpetrated by any person who has been offered or has received anything of value for committing the murder, and all parties to such a murder, are guilty as principals; e) When done with or without any design to effect death, by any person engaged in the commission of the crime of rape, burglary, kidnapping, arson, robbery, sexual battery, unnatural intercourse with any child under the age of twelve (12), or nonconsensual unnatural intercourse with mankind, or in any attempt to commit such felonies; f) When done with or without any design to effect death, by any person engaged in the commission of the crime of felonious abuse and/or battery of a child in violation of subsection (2) of Section , or in any attempt to commit such felony; g) Murder which is perpetrated on educational property as defined in Section ; h) Murder which is perpetrated by the killing of any elected official of a county, municipal, state or federal government with knowledge that the victim was such public official. (3) An indictment for murder or capital murder shall serve as notice to the defendant that the indictment may include any and all lesser included offenses thereof, including, but not limited to, manslaughter.
7 Miss. Code Ann Operation of vehicle while under influence of intoxicating liquor, drugs or controlled substances, or other substances impairing ability to operate vehicle or with blood alcohol concentrations above specified levels; penalties generally; granting of hardship driving privileges; penalties for violations resulting in death, disfigurement, etc., of another; penalties for multiple offenses; concurrent running of suspensions. 1) It is unlawful for any person to drive or otherwise operate a vehicle within this state who (a) is under the influence of intoxicating liquor; (b) is under the influence of any other substance which has impaired such person's ability to operate a motor vehicle; (c) has an alcohol concentration of eight one-hundredths percent (.08%) or more for persons who are above the legal age to purchase alcoholic beverages under state law, or two onehundredths percent (.02%) or more for persons who are below the legal age to purchase alcoholic beverages under state law, in the person's blood based upon grams of alcohol per one hundred (100) milliliters of blood or grams of alcohol per two hundred ten (210) liters of breath as shown by a chemical analysis of such person's breath, blood or urine administered as authorized by this chapter; (d) is under the influence of any drug or controlled substance, the possession of which is unlawful under the Mississippi Controlled Substances Law; or (e) has an alcohol concentration of four one-hundredths percent (.04%) or more in the person's blood, based upon grams of alcohol per one hundred (100) milliliters of blood or grams of alcohol per two hundred ten (210) liters of breath as shown by a chemical analysis of such person's blood, breath or urine, administered as authorized by this chapter for persons operating a commercial motor vehicle. 5) Every person who operates any motor vehicle in violation of the provisions of subsection (1) of this section and who in a negligent manner causes the death of another or mutilates, disfigures, permanently disables or destroys the tongue, eye, lip, nose or any other limb, organ or member of another shall, upon conviction, be guilty of a separate felony for each such death, mutilation, disfigurement or other injury and shall be committed to the custody of the State Department of Corrections for a period of time of not less than five (5) years and not to exceed twenty-five (25) years for each such death, mutilation, disfigurement or other injury, and the imprisonment for the second or each subsequent conviction, in the discretion of the court, shall commence either at the termination of the imprisonment for the preceding conviction or run concurrently with the preceding conviction. Any person charged with causing the death of another as described in this subsection shall be required to post bail before being released after arrest. Note: Miss. Code Ann (1) must be read consistently with stipulation #8.
8 EXHIBIT 1. BLOOD ALCOHOL CURVE FOR SLY WEEKS
9 EXHIBIT 2. BLOOD ALCOHOL CURVE FOR SLY WEEKS
10 EXHIBIT 3 RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ALCOHOL INTOXICATION AND BEHAVIOR BAC (grams percent) % 0.06% 0.08% 0.15% % 0.30% 0.35% 0.40% to.50% BIOBEHAVIORAL EFFECTS No impairment detectable except when measured by highly specialized tests. Subjectively: warm mellow feeling, slight relaxation. Start of increased risk for crash in young male drivers (age 16 20). Marked increased risk for a fatal crash due to divided attention failure, impaired judgment and cognitive errors. Too intoxicated to drive (legal definition). Risk for fatal crash very high in drivers of any ages. Impaired psychomotor coordination on certain standardized tests, some impairment of vision. One or more reliable signs of visible intoxication (e.g., slurred speech, difficulty walking, standing, picking up objects), in most people without the use of special tests. Inappropriate, uninhibited behavior, impaired sensory processing, increased reaction time. Severely impaired sensory motor processing Stuporous. Unconscious Range of surgical anesthesia Lethal level for about half the population The effects described are cumulative. Symptoms that appear at lower blood alcohol levels may also be present at higher alcohol concentrations. Derived from: Brick, J. (1994). The Relationship Between Alcohol Intoxication and Behavior; and Brick, J., and Erickson, C., (1999) Drugs The Brain and Behavior, Haworth Medical Press. Copyright 2007 John Brick. Reprinted with permission.
11 EXHIBIT 4 4 DRUGS, THE BRAIN, AND BEHAVIOR: THE PHARMACOLOGY OF ABUSE AND DEPENDENCE by John Brick, Ph.D. and Carl Erickson, Ph.D. The following excerpts from Chapter 6 are reprinted with permission from Dr. John Brick: Alcohol is perhaps the world s oldest known drug. It is toxic to almost everything, including the liver, heart, brain, gut, pancreas, and fetus yet people drink gallons of it. We know more about this drug than other psychoactive drugs, yet we still do not know all of the mechanisms through which it works to produce intoxication and addiction. When alcohol is swallowed it enters the stomach. The transit from the stomach into the small intestine is regulated by a ring-shaped muscular valve called the pyloric sphincter. Under laboratory conditions in which the pylorus has been clamped closed or ligated, about half the alcohol in the stomach will eventually be absorbed through the stomach wall and into the blood. However, under more natural drinking conditions, about 10 percent of the orally ingested alcohol is absorbed through the stomach; the rest is absorbed in the upper intestine. The concentration of alcohol in the blood is a function of many factors including (1) the amount consumed, (2) the rate at which alcohol enters the circulatory system from the gastrointestinal tract, (3) the diffusion and distribution of alcohol into blood and fluid compartments. (4) the rate at which alcohol is oxidized and eliminated, and (5) the time course of drinking. When the rate of absorption exceeds the rate of elimination, blood alcohol concentration (BAC) rises. Therefore, the rate of alcohol absorption directly affects the maximum BAC. Under most drinking scenarios, alcohol absorption exceeds elimination for about thirty to ninety minutes after the last drink. Widmark was the first to accurately describe the rate of alcohol elimination in humans Widmark reported [the rate of alcohol elimination in humans] to be about 15 mg/dl/hr (.015 percent/hr). More recent studies using better analytical techniques have confirmed Widmark s original computation and have suggested that, except in some clinical populations, the rate of elimination is very centrally weighted at approximately.015 percent/hr. Approximately 90 percent of all alcohol is eliminated from the body through breakdown by the liver enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase. Small amounts of unchanged alcohol are eliminated from the body through sweat, urine, and expired air. These can be measured in alcohol sweat patch tests, urinalysis, and through breath testing.
12 4 The BAC is the concentration of alcohol by weight in a volume of blood, almost always 100 milliliters (in the United States). The BAC is usually expressed in grams or milligrams (mg) of pure ethanol per 100 milliliters (ml) of whole blood or serum. In most drinkers, as the BAC increases toward 100 mg/dl (.10 percent), it becomes increasingly difficult to perform various complex psychomotor tests, including tasks such as driving. However, it is difficult, in the absence of specific testing, to reliably observe and identify symptoms of alcohol intoxication until BACs reach 150 mg/dl (.15 percent). At that level or more, the majority of people will show signs or symptoms of impairment due to alcohol intoxication, even in the absence of specific testing. One of the most pronounced effects of alcohol is on divided attention tasks For example, operating a motor vehicle requires the driver to attend to and remember many tasks. Alcohol intoxication may interfere with the ability to remember to wear a seat belt, turn on driving lights and/or directional signals, attend simultaneously to other vehicles, pedestrians, traffic control devices, road markings, hazards, or signs, and to control lane position, speed, make estimates of time and distance, etc. At high BACs the performance of these skills is further hampered by analgesia and impaired feedback from tactile (touch) receptors in the skin. (This type of feedback is called proprioception.) People rarely look visibly intoxicated at BACs that produce impairment in complex divided attention tasks, such as driving. Most drinkers will not appear visibly intoxicated (impaired) at BACs of.08 percent (the current legal limit in most states), unless they are given specific tests. The reality is that virtually all drinkers are at increased risk for an accident at BACs that do not produce visible intoxication Chronic heavy drinking can produce liver damage (e.g., fatty liver, cirrhosis), cardiovascular diseases (e.g., heart disease, hypotension), brain damage (cerebellum degeneration, enlarged ventricles), peripheral nerve damage (e.g., neuropathies, paresthesias), neurological damage (cognitive and memory impairment), and motor disorders (gait).
13 EXHIBIT 5 RIVERSIDE ORDINANCE Section 1. Use of sandbars after 10:00 p.m. and swimming after dark prohibited. a. It shall be unlawful for any person to walk on or use for any purpose after 10:00 p.m. the sandbars at or between Benoit and Rosedale or to swim after dark in the waters adjacent to, or within 300 feet of, the sandbars at or between Benoit and Rosedale. b. Any person who has been convicted of a violation of this ordinance shall be required to pay a fine of $1, and shall be subject to a term of imprisonment of up to 90 days or both.
14 WITNESS STATEMENT MERRION MONTGOMERY (Testifying for the Prosecution) My name is Merrion Montgomery. I am 32 years of age. I am a detective in the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MWFP). It is the responsibility of the MWFP to patrol inland waterways and coastal areas in order to enforce applicable Mississippi laws relating to the safe and prudent operation of powerboats. We have become quite busy in the last 10 years, due to the ever-increasing number of boats on the Mississippi riverside as well as people who unfortunately don t know how to operate them. As with automobiles, it seems that the younger individuals have a higher proportional number of boating accidents. On May 2, 2012, at approximately 3:00 a.m., I learned that a frantic family was at MWFP headquarters in Greenville claiming that a group of kids had been swimming at the Benoit Outing Club, and Rivers Applewhite had disappeared. My first thought was that a tragedy was inevitable. We chase kids off that sandbar at night at least 20 times every summer season. Usually the kids are partying and are drunk. I always thought that sooner or later some kid would drown late at night. I jumped into my jeep and drove directly to Benoit, approximately 27 miles away. I had three MWFP boats meet me at that location, and I was informed that the Ford County Sheriff s Department was also sending a watercraft. By 3:30 a.m., I was at Benoit. I was provided with information indicating that a number of high school students had decided to go for a swim off the sandbar adjacent to the Benoit Outing Club. Apparently, two boats had approached the bridge at high speed and at the last minute had turned, rather than going through the deeper water at the center of the river. This was incredibly stupid there is not enough clearance for boats near the beach. The low propeller of a speeding boat and possibly the boat itself could run aground with the uneven surface of the river. Immediately after the boats passed, the other high school students noticed that Rivers Applewhite was nowhere to be found. Fearing that she might have drowned or been struck by one of the boats, three of the young people immediately proceeded for help, while the other two began searching desperately in the dark waters for their friend. Next, I spoke to the bait shop owner, 38-year old Denise Roddy. Denise is a local resident at Benoit Outing Club who is a stickler for detail. She despises the teenagers who party on the riverside after dark, and she always marks the time of unusual events. She told me that only two boats approached the sandbars at Benoit since she had started her shift at 10:00 p.m. The boats were speeding toward the people on the sandbar and then turning at the last minute, splashing water on those sitting on the sandbar. Suddenly, people on the sandbar began screaming hysterically after the boats had turned and were driving away. Several frantic teenagers came running up to her to call the police. Someone had been run over by a boat and was missing. The time was 2:20 a.m. The three MWFP boats were searching the area with spotlights when I arrived. The Ford County Sheriff s Department had two boats patrolling the sandbar. Although I tried to remain optimistic in the face of Rivers Applewhite s grief-stricken family who had all arrived at the scene, I felt in my heart that the end result was not going to be a good one. Four hours later, I was on duty in one of our patrol crafts when I received a call that a local fisherman had located a human body in a bayou approximately one-half mile from the Benoit Outing Club. I was the first law enforcement officer to arrive. My partner and I carefully lifted the body into our boat. The body had just started to decompose and facial recognition was impossible. However, it was apparent from the design of the bathing suit and the description of the hair that it was the young woman we had been looking for. Dental records later confirmed Rivers Applewhite s identity.
15 We raced the body immediately to the nearest hospital with autopsy facilities. Although I did not take any photographs at the scene, I alerted our office so that photographs might be taken immediately prior to the autopsy and during the autopsy. After the body was delivered to the hospital, I took it upon myself to drive personally to the Applewhite residence and inform the family as to what we had found. One hour later I returned to the hospital to witness the autopsy. The medical examiner confirmed that there was a skull fracture in the rear of Rivers Applewhite s head. In addition, there were three deep cuts down her back and her thigh consistent with a spinning propeller blade. The lacerations were similar to those found on manatees that had been driven over by boats in southern Florida. Lastly, the left foot was completely missing. This kid never had a chance. The medical examiner concluded that the cause of death was blunt force trauma resulting in a fracture of the skull, splitting of the brain, and massive hemorrhaging all consistent with being struck by a boat. Approximately two days after the autopsy was completed, we were finally able to ascertain what two boats may have been involved in this incident. We had received an anonymous tip that Sly Weeks had taken a group of high school students out on his parents boat immediately after the prom at Rosedale High School. As luck would have it, Sly Weeks had already retained an attorney, and we were advised that he would not speak with us. This did not surprise me about the Weeks kid. Twice last summer, I charged him for swimming off of that beach after midnight. Apparently, his father is some local bigwig because the local municipal court judge dismissed the summonses which I issued against Weeks. I was determined that he would not get away with killing Rivers Applewhite. Relying upon further tips from other high school students, we learned that Weeks went to Rosedale Hospital in the early morning hours of May 2. Further investigation revealed that a doctor, suspicious that Weeks had been drinking, drew a blood sample at 3:45 a.m. that was later tested and determined to contain a blood alcohol concentration of.060. The records also indicated his height and weight. I also learned that the first boat had been piloted by Weeks and had been moved from its normal slip at Benoit Outing Club to a friend s slip approximately two miles away. A search warrant was executed for the seizure and examination of the boat. Nothing of an evidential nature was recovered. The propeller on the boat looked new, but even if it wasn t the river water would have destroyed any blood or body tissue evidence. I also learned that a kid named Lee Lincoln had been in the boat with Weeks. I paid Lincoln a visit. Lee Lincoln seemed scared. It turns out Lincoln had been in trouble before. His father used to be a police officer in Clarksdale. While initially Lee Lincoln just didn t want to be involved, by the time I had spoken to Lincoln and his father, and Lincoln s father spoke to him, Lincoln told us the truth. After Lincoln told us what happened, we searched the other kid s boat pursuant to a search warrant and found nothing. That wrapped up my investigation. Weeks was obviously the person who ran over Rivers Applewhite. I certify that the foregoing statements made by me are true. I am aware that if any of the foregoing statements made by me are willfully false, I am subject to punishment. June 1, 2012 /s/ Merrion Montgomery Merrion Montgomery
16 WITNESS STATEMENT LEE LINCOLN (Testifying for the Prosecution) My name is Lee Lincoln. I m 17. I will graduate from Rosedale High School at the end of May, and in September, I will be going to the University Mississippi. I got an academic scholarship; otherwise I could never have afforded to go to college. Unlike a lot of the rich kids in Benoit, I have to work for everything I get in life. I used to be a close friend or rather a very close friend of Sly Weeks. I guess you could say that up until the night of the prom, there was a group of us who were best friends. Sly s father is a well-to-do consultant who has a home in Benoit. In addition to owning two very nice boats, he has his own airplane. During the beginning of our junior year, Sly told me that his father let him use the smaller boat (the ski boat) but wouldn t let him touch the 40-foot Silverton. In the weeks before the prom, Sly and I, as well as other friends, had spent many a happy hour on the ski boat zipping in and out of the various bayous and channels. I was quite a decent water skier and felt safe with Sly since he passed his Coast Guard boating course and obtained his boating license. One of the biggest thrills for all of us was swimming and skiing off of the sandbar at Benoit Outing Club, especially at night. Partying with friends, swimming and skiing in the dark, and lying on the sandbar under the stars is more fun than you can ever imagine. I guess that s now finished forever. About a week before the prom, Sly suggested that a group of us spend a romantic evening on the water after we all left the prom. At first I thought the idea sounded stupid, but after further thought I began to like the idea. Spending the whole night after the prom on the water under a starlit sky, drinking champagne and swimming, would be the perfect ending to a perfect night. We arranged for our other friends to accompany us with two other boats, and we would all spend the evening floating off of the sandbars at Benoit and drinking champagne. If we were lucky, we might even see some alligators. Sly told me that he obtained permission from his parents to use their boat and everything was set. We left the prom and drove to the Benoit Outing Club to get the boat. I had picked up champagne and a case of beer, 12 ounce cans, which Sly put in a cooler in the boat cabin. As we pulled out of the slip, Sly opened the first bottle of beer. I looked at my watch and noticed it was close to midnight. We stopped after finding a nice spot on the sandbar. For the next hour and a half, we sipped champagne or drank beer, and hung out under the stars. At about 1:30 that night, we were out of beer. Sly drank at least two six-packs. He was also guzzling champagne. He was showing off by swigging from the bottle. Anyway, we stayed and talked. We talked about school and life and college, and Sly said we should all make a pact to stay tight in the years to come. Everyone was sitting on the sandbar. Alex Austin and Sly got in their boats and decided to have a competition to see who could get closest to us on the sandbar and turn around at the last minute to spray us with water. They said they were going to play chicken. Sly was laughing loudly and driving his boat very fast. Although Sly drinks almost every weekend, I have seen him hold a lot more, and I thought he was feeling the alcohol. Sly and Alex decided one final time that they would both drive toward to the sandbar as fast as possible to see who could get the closest before they would turn around. I was riding in Sly s boat. On the last time we approached the sandbar, we were racing neck and neck with Alex. At the last minute, I saw swimmers in the water on the edge of the sandbar waving their hands frantically. We turned as quickly as we could and just missed hitting Alex s boat and almost ran aground. I felt a jolt like we had hit a sandbar under the water and slid right off. I was screaming and yelling at Sly, Stop, Stop!! He was already speeding back the other way
17 towards the marina. I kept screaming There were swimmers back there! We have to go back. Why, he shouted back, so the police can show up and find out we were drinking and boating? No way! I looked at my watch again. It was 2:20 a.m. Instead of going back to the marina where his father kept the ski boat, Sly kept going up the river to his friend Matt s home. Sly pulled the ski boat up to Matt s private slip, and it soon became apparent that absolutely nobody was home. Sly then raised the propeller of the outboard motor out of the water and said something about running over some debris back there. After a couple of minutes, he screamed and jerked back his left hand. I asked him what the matter was. He seemed startled as I leaned over the back of the boat next to him. I saw what looked like thick fiber on the blade, like rope or clothing that has just been in the wash. He was picking it out from around the blade with his right hand. It went plop in the water. All the while Sly was cursing up a storm. He said, I just cut myself. I looked at his hand and saw that he had. Sly s girlfriend Marylou arrived, cleaned the injury, and later took Sly to the hospital. In the commotion about the cut, I forgot all about the strange fiber. When I finally went back later to look for it, it was nowhere to be seen. I went home and thought nothing more about it. Soon word was out all over school that a sophomore by the name of Rivers Applewhite had drowned during the night of our prom. Some boat had run her over. I was scared to death and didn t say anything. When I tried to talk to Sly about it after school, he said, Don t even think about it. Just keep your mouth shut. Whatever happened was an accident. Ruining our lives won t bring Rivers back. I haven t discussed it with him since. I was afraid to go to the police because I thought that I might get in trouble for buying the beer and champagne and drinking. All I could think about was going to jail, missing college, and screwing up my whole life. A week or so later, Detective Montgomery appeared at my door. I didn t know who to be more afraid of the police or my father. He comes from a big law enforcement family in Clarksdale, and our family reunions look like police conventions. He chewed me out, and I guess Detective Montgomery did too, but not as much. I know that the law comes before friendship. I hear Sly and Marylou are engaged and that Sly s parents have already purchased them a condo overlooking the marina. For some strange reason, I hear the ski boat has been sold. Despite what people may think, I hold no grudges against anyone. The fact that Sly is facing a long jail term is his own problem. I guess he ll get whatever he deserves. While I didn t know Rivers Applewhite personally, I feel bad. She was so well-liked at school, and her death probably cost us a chance to go to State Finals in swimming that year. I certify that the foregoing statements made by me are true. I am aware that if any of the foregoing statements made by me are willfully false, I am subject to punishment. June 1, 2012 /s/ Lee Lincoln Lee Lincoln
18 WITNESS STATEMENT DR. SHANNON SPRINGFIELD (Testifying for the Prosecution) My name is Shannon Springfield. I am 34 years old. I am a toxicologist. I received a bachelor of science from Delta State University where my major was chemistry and my minor was biology. Next, I attended University of Southern Mississippi where I received my master of science in chemistry. I was prepared to make my fortune with one of the large national chemical companies when tragedy struck and forever changed my life. Two months before completing my work for my masters, my older brother, whom I idolized, was killed in an automobile accident the victim of a drunk driver. For nearly six months after his funeral, I was so depressed that I couldn t think about work or school. Then, with the help of a counselor who finally got through to me, I realized I could put my talent to work educating people about the devastating consequences of alcohol abuse and addiction. I finished the master s program and then went on to receive a Ph.D. in toxicology from the University of Mississippi. I now I teach at Mississippi State University and do federally funded research at the University s Institute for Drug and Alcohol Research and Rehabilitation. I have conducted extensive studies on the effects of alcohol on human behavior and performance. Of particular interest have been my studies of blood alcohol levels and impairment of functional ability with respect to the operation of simple and complex machinery. I have published more than 90 articles in nationally recognized journals, and my work has been recognized and utilized by more than 30 blue chip companies. I have also been recognized as an authority on alcohol and human behavior in the municipal, state and federal courts of 13 states. I have testified for the prosecution in more than 100 DUI, vehicular homicide and manslaughter cases. Although I have occasionally testified for the defense, I only do so when it is entirely clear that alcohol is not involved in aberrant or damaging behavior. Earlier this month, I was contacted by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks in Greenville, Mississippi, and asked to review the investigation into the death of a young woman named Rivers Applewhite. I spoke to Detective Merrion Montgomery and carefully reviewed the detective s investigation, summarized in a witness statement. Next, I interviewed Denise Roddy to confirm the times of her observations as reported in Montgomery s reports. I then read the witness statements of Lee Lincoln, Alex Austin and Jamie Jefferson. Finally, I went to the Rosedale Hospital to confirm the time blood was drawn from defendant Weeks on the night of the homicide, his blood alcohol level and his weight. After studying all of the information available to me, I can testify within reasonable scientific certainty that at 2:20 a.m. the morning of the homicide, when defendant Weeks sped toward the sandbar at Benoit Outing Club while playing chicken and then suddenly swerved to splash the people on the shore, his blood alcohol level was above 0.08%; that he was operating his vessel under the influence of intoxicating liquor; and that his consumption of alcohol and consequent reckless behavior was a proximate cause of the death of Rivers Applewhite. Alcohol is absorbed rather quickly through the stomach and intestines into the bloodstream. Absorption generally continues for minutes after the last drink. If one has eaten recently, the food in the stomach may slow the rate that alcohol passes through the gastrointestinal system and into the bloodstream. In this case, we know for certain what his blood alcohol concentration was and there is no evidence of eating, only drinking alcohol. Therefore, absorption would be relatively rapid. Even so and just to be conservative, an absorption time of about one hour was used in my analysis. I also considered the fact that once alcohol enters the body through the gastrointestinal system, it is distributed throughout the watery parts of the body, including blood and other tissues. People with higher percentages of body fat have less water than those of the
19 same weight who are more muscular, resulting in their having a higher BAC though consuming the same amount of alcohol as their more muscular counterparts. Muscle contains more water than fat so the alcohol will be mixed into a larger volume of body water and therefore diluted. On average, women generally have more body fat than men which means the same quantity of alcohol may cause a slightly higher blood alcohol concentration in a woman compared to a man of the same weight. These factors are important in determining how much someone drank or what their blood alcohol level would be after they drank alcohol. Generally, such variations are relatively small, but they were considered. Alcohol is eliminated from the body through the liver and to a much lesser extent through urine and breath. The rate of alcohol elimination or burn-off can vary between individuals; however, it is generally accepted in the scientific and medical community that the average rate of elimination is 0.015%/h. Most drinkers eliminate alcohol in the.015% to.020% per hour range, although rates nearly twice this amount have been reported in some alcoholics. In this case I used an elimination rate of.0175%/hour in my analysis because there is evidence that the defendant drank often and on a number of occasions before May 1, and some literature suggests that people who drink habitually have a higher than average rate of alcohol elimination. I have been told that Sly Weeks weighed 200 pounds on May 1, Since alcohol is distributed primarily in the body water, I used an appropriate scientific method to calculate Mr. Weeks s body water in my calculations. Finally, there is no evidence that Sly Weeks ate a meal before the incident and from the evidence reviewed and the time of the drinking, there was no opportunity for the consumption of food that might slow down alcohol absorption. Therefore, I used a one hour absorption time from the last drink to the peak blood alcohol level. From my experience and the facts in the case, this is appropriate. In this case, we know the defendant had his last drink at approximately 1:30 on the morning of the homicide. We also know that he raced toward the sandbar and then swerved to splash the swimmers for the last time at approximately at 2:20 a.m. A blood test revealed that at 3:45 a.m., Sly Weeks had a blood alcohol level of.06%. Therefore, the defendant s BAC was at or above.08% when his boat struck Rivers Applewhite. I have charted the BAC of the defendant on Exhibit 2. Exhibit 2 is based upon a burn-off rate of.0175%/hour, which I believe to be more accurate in this case. Even if one assumes that Weeks s BAC was below.08% at the time of River Applewhite s death, in my opinion, he was still operating a vessel recklessly while under the influence of alcohol. Using the most recent scientific studies and methods, it was calculated that for a 17- year-old male, Mr. Week s relative risk (RR) for a fatal crash was at least 31 times greater than compared to a sober control. Exhibit 3 shows the relationship between alcohol intoxication and behavior. If one assumes that the defendant s rate of elimination of alcohol was percent to percent per hour, his BAC would have been just below or just above.08% at 2:20 a.m. on May 2. Clearly, he would have experienced divided attention failure and impaired judgment. He may have been experiencing impaired muscular coordination and some impaired vision. As shown in Exhibit 2, the risk of a person with a BAC of.082% having a fatal crash is 37 times greater than compared with a person who is sober. The risk is particularly high because of the combination of age and BAC. Young drivers and young drinkers are a dangerous combination. I know that some of the people with the defendant on prom night have given statements that he only had three or four beers, but this is unlikely. Based on the blood test results, Weeks s weight, drinking time and burn-off, he had at least four beers and probably five or six beers. I am also aware that no one observed slurred speech, balance problems or other visible signs of intoxication in Sly Weeks. Although too intoxicated to drive safely, most people do not look obviously drunk with a BAC of.08% and unlike police, for example, his friends were not trained observers with the tools and skills to determine intoxication.
20 Many people, especially teenagers, think that because one is legally intoxicated in Mississippi if he or she has a BAC of.08 or more, they may safely operate a motor vehicle when their BAC is below.08%. This is simply untrue. A person can be convicted of driving while intoxicated if a trained observer such as a police officer sees that the driver s coordination and motor functions are impaired. This can occur in some people with blood alcohol levels as low as 0.05% using special tests. The defendant s BAC was, in my opinion, above.08% at 2:20 a.m. in the early morning hours of May 2, 2012, and he was a significant risk for a fatal crash, which unfortunately is exactly what happened in this case. I certify that the foregoing statements made by me are true. I am aware that if any of the foregoing statements made by me are willfully false, I am subject to punishment. August 30, 2012 /s/ Shannon Springfield Shannon Springfield, Ph.D.