A 43-year-old Ardmore man may have walked away from a second-degree murder charge last week that was connected with a drunk driving incident Oct. 29, 2013 that claimed the life of the victim, but prosecutors say the case is far from over.
First Assistant District Attorney Heather Cooper says District Judge Dennis Morris ordered the murder charge dismissed based on a motion filed by Michael King’s defense lawyer Carrie Hixon.
“The motion argued the law at the time of the accident did not allow for the use of a “Page II” (proof of prior convictions) which was needed to support the murder charge. The judge ruled his prior DUI could not be used and dismissed the charge,” Cooper explained. “We are now asking the judge to rule on whether we can proceed with a manslaughter charge. We are not going to just abandon this case in which a life was lost.”
District Attorney Craig Ladd said if Morris grants the motion his office “will file a first-degree manslaughter charge in the case.”
King was arrested after hitting Joshua Dale Cooke with the 2000 Toyota he was driving. Cooke died from injuries he sustained after bring struck on US. Highway 70 within the city of Wilson. The initial charge accuses King of driving under the influence of both drugs and alcohol. The “Page II” which sought penalty enhancement alleges that on Aug. 3, 2004 King was convicted of a misdemeanor in Maury County, Tennessee. Court records indicate it was King’s third driving under the influence charge in Tennessee.
Following his initial appearance in Carter County District Court in 2014 King was released from the county jail after posting a $50,000 bond. He remains free pending the outcome of the case.
The law that derailed the second-degree murder charge in King’s case has since been revised.