Man sentenced for role in deadly Stoddard County crash

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

BLOOMFIELD, Mo. -- A Wappapello, Mo., man was sentenced to nine years in prison Monday for his role in a 2007 crash that claimed the lives of a Bonne Terre, Mo., couple.

Jason Merrill, 21, plead guilty to the class B felony of first-degree manslaughter due to intoxication. The crime, normally a class C felony, was raised to a class B because of his status as a prior and persistent offender.

Merrill is accused of causing the fatal July 7, 2007, crash on Route J in Stoddard County that killed Peter and Susan AuBuchon.

Two members of the AuBuchon family offered testimony at the sentencing.

He was originally charged with two counts of first-degree involuntary manslaughter, one count of second-degree assault and one count of endangering the welfare of a child.

Added to those charges in August 2007 were two counts of first-degree involuntary manslaughter due to intoxication and two counts of second-degree involuntary manslaughter.

Merrill was arrested July 10, 2007, on a warrant for a probation violation.

He was charged as a prior and persistent offender because of two prior convictions for second-degree burglary.

Merrill is expected to be sentenced Aug. 20 in regards to the probation violation on the above charges.

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