Brent O'Neal in court for motions hearing in fatal crash - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Brent O'Neal in court for motions hearing in fatal crash

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It was day one of a motions hearing for Brent O'Neal.

He was accused of texting and speeding while driving and caused a crash that killed a motorcyclist.    

A judge heard arguments on two motions, whether O'Neal was read his rights and the validity of his first degree manslaughter indictment.

KSFY News was in court Tuesday.   

The defense argued O'Neal was questioned before being read his rights while the state argued he wasn't in custody at that point, and the police merely wanted to know what happened.

Another issue is whether O'Neal's first degree manslaughter indictment was just under the law.

Brent O'Neal had his day in court Tuesday for allegedly killing 33-year-old motorcyclist Phil Sorensen last July. The defense team argued it was simply an accident. They say since O'Neal didn't intentionally set out to harm Sorensen with his car that the first degree manslaughter indictment was unjust.    

The judge said he looked at the grand jury indictment and said the motion to dismiss would be denied.    

Much of the day was spent discussing the right to remain silent.    

The defense argued police should have read O'Neal his rights as soon as they started questioning him. The state and the judge stated the first officer who caught up with O'Neal was just doing his job and had the right to ask someone about what happened. 

A detective also arrived on the scene but didn't read O'Neal his rights.    

The defense argued O'Neal should have been read his right if he was in custody or interrogation.

And since police told O'Neal to sit down and took his ID, they say he never felt as though he had the right to leave, and therefore was in police custody, and should have been read his rights.    

The judge said he couldn't make a ruling on the Miranda rights issue so he called a recess.   

He said he will seek further advisement before making a decision. 

O'Neal will  be back in court tomorrow afternoon.

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