Crime

Almost five years later, DUI-manslaughter case might come to trial

Michigan native and seasonal Middle Keys resident Richard Lee Hall could finally face trial in a few months on a charge of driving under the influence-manslaughter, for which he was arrested in 2010.

Hill's accused of being drunk when he drove a 2001 Chevy Corvette into a metal pole and fence. His passenger, 61-year-old Bernie Snyder, was tossed from the car and died.

Hall and Snyder had reportedly gone to the Dion's On the Run convenience store near mile marker 47.5 for cigarettes and were driving south to their 11th Street homes. Hall was arrested on May 2, 2010, three months after the crash.

According to an April 2010 arrest warrant issued by acting Circuit Court Judge Ruth Becker, Hall had a blood alcohol content of .104 at 8:24 p.m. the night of the crash. In Florida, .08 is considered legally drunk.

Hall's attorney, William Heffernan, said the case has taken so long to get to trial because several witnesses have left the Florida Keys. He said ongoing health issues of his own have also delayed the trial.

"The State Attorney's Office and my office are finishing up some expert witness testimony," Heffernan said. "Mr. Hall is at home in Michigan and on electronic reporting. He's wearing a SCRAM bracelet right now and is as anxious to resolve this as we are."

SCRAM stands for secure continuous remote alcohol monitor. The device is warn on the ankle and measures blood alcohol level through perspiration on the skin.

Heffernan said former Monroe County Medical Examiner Eugene Scheuerman, who now teaches in Tennessee, is subpoenaed for a deposition. The state trooper who investigated the crash also has given a deposition.

Hall was arrested on Oct. 18, 2013, on two felony charges that he failed to appear for a court date. Hall drove from Michigan to the Keys and turned himself in. Becker reevaluated the bond and Hall was out on bond again.

Hall is tentatively scheduled for trial in May at the Marathon courthouse near mile marker 48.5.

Assistant State Attorney Tanner Demmery didn't return calls for comment.

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