Appeal in fatal 2004 crash refused

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

A Perryville man sentenced in 2005 to 20 years in prison for involuntary manslaughter and second-degree assault failed in an attempt to appeal his case last month.

In his guilty plea, Michael W. Berry, now 28, admitted that in 2004 he had been driving under the influence of methamphetamine when he was passing a truck on a curve in a no-passing zone and caused a head-on collision with a car driven by Chaffee Assembly of God minister Darren E. Larkin.

Larkin was seriously injured in the accident; and his wife, Rebecca, was killed.

Last year Berry appealed his conviction, stating that his attorney, Jason Tilley, had a conflict of interest in his case, was working against him and coerced him into pleading guilty, among other things.

Circuit Judge Benjamin Lewis refused the request after a hearing. Lewis' decision was upheld by the Missouri Court of Appeals Southern District Feb. 22.

Read more in Wednesday's Southeast Missourian.

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