Jury: Driver Not Guilty In Girl’s Death

VALPARAISO, Ind. (STMW) – Porter County jurors on Friday found Richard Warren McCall, 31, not guilty of felony charges in the death of a 9-year-old girl he struck with his pickup in 2009.

However, after about five hours of deliberation, they found him guilty of two misdemeanors in the death of Elizabeth Miller — criminal recklessness with a motor vehicle and reckless driving.

Miller’s family cursed McCall, the jury and the justice system from the gallery before being admonished by a security guard.

“I think this is a case where there were no winners and only losers,” defense attorney Gary Germann said.

McCall declined to comment. He faces up to a year in prison when sentenced Dec. 17.

McCall admitted to killing the girl by hitting her with his truck in February 2009 and the trial was based on whether his behavior was reckless when he admitted to trying to scare a group of children off his abandoned property.

An expert witness estimated he was traveling at least 43 mph when he skidded from his driveway.

“It’s curious how they can find him guilty of reckless driving and criminal recklessness with a motor vehicle and not reckless homicide. It was reckless for them all,” deputy prosecutor Andrew Bennett said.

With the felony reckless homicide and criminal recklessness felonies, McCall could have served up to eight years in prison.

“How could they drop both felonies?” the girl’s mother, Lisa Miller, said. “He scared her all right. He scared her to death and I’ll never see her again.”

She added, “It wouldn’t have brought her back, no, but that’s no justice.”

Bennett had argued that although McCall wasn’t the typical criminal, he made choices that were reckless when he sped to the house in the 5200 block of Concord Avenue.

“Good people can commit crimes. Good people do commit crimes. And they should be held accountable and responsible,” Bennett said in his closing arguments.

Germann’s defense was that McCall set out to defend his property that had been vandalized and burglarized many times since his family had to leave it after a tree fell on it.

“He did not drive or aim his truck at kids,” Germann said.

After the verdict, court security called police because Miller’s family had made threats, including meeting McCall in the parking lot. They also called police to watch McCall’s current home.

© Sun-Times Media Wire Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

  • Roberta Waker

    What a travesty. The jury must have been out to lunch on this one. McCall should have been convicted of a FELONY. I hope the jury can sleep at night after making this horrible decision. Twelve months is NOT enough punishment because he will probably get out after six. Unfortunately most juries don’t make educated verdicts because oftentimes evidence is withheld. In this case, there is NO excuse for their verdict and they should ALL be ashamed of themselves. Maybe next time it will be a member of their family.

  • Centurion

    Don’t most people defend their property by running down children with their pickup trucks?

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