Judge: Jailhouse conversations allowed in manslaughter case - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Judge: Jailhouse conversations allowed in manslaughter case

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A judge will allow jailhouse conversations as evidence in the trial of a man accused of fatally injuring a motorcyclist while he was texting and driving.
    
Brent Michael O'Neal, 22, is charged with first- and second-degree manslaughter for the collision that killed motorcyclist Philip Sorensen, 33, in Sioux Falls July of 2012.
    
Police didn't find any messages on his phone, but according to police dashboard video, O'Neal was on his phone after the accident. Authorities say O'Neal told friends visiting the jail during recorded video conversations that he was texting before the accident.

"What the f*** happened?," a friend asked O'Neal on a jail recording. "Just driving, texting. All I know, looked up, f*****' started hitting s***. It was just one after another. One, two, three.," O'Neal said, according to court documents.
    
Defense lawyers argued that the lack of evidence from O'Neal's phone meant his jailhouse statements weren't reliable enough to present to the jury, but the judge denied defense's request.
    
O'Neal's trial date has not been set.

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