Family outraged by accused murderer's new trial

January 15, 2008 5:27:01 PM PST
A man sentenced to at least 50 years for killing a Durham woman will get a new trial.

The North Carolina Court of Appeals overturned the conviction for Kenneth Maready. He was charged with killing Kay Stokes in 2005. Now Stokes' loved one are outraged by news of the appeal.

"Now he's getting privileges of an appeal," Marcey Stokes-Henley, victim's daughter, said. "Come on! That's pathetic!"

For Stokes-Henley, word of Maready's appeal is just as agonizing as the night his actions killed her mother.

"You know they say life is whatever you make it," Stokes-Henley said. "Well, I didn't choose life to take my moma."

In 2006, a Durham judge sentenced Maready to at least 50 years in prison for killing 61-year-old Kay Stokes.

A year earlier, Maready got drunk, stole a car and fled from deputies who pulled him over, crashing into the pick-up Stokes was driving.

At the time, Maready's blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit. He had a revoked license and six drunken driving convictions on his record.

"He never apologized," Stokes-Henley said. "He just, when he came into that court room last time all he did was just stare."

Tuesday the state court of appeals overturned Maready's conviction, saying he's entitled to a new trial because the previous trial allowed prosecutors to use several past convictions too remote in time.

"Whatever his driving record was back then -- yeah, they should use every single piece of evidence," Stokes-Henley said.

Henley says therapy, medication and prayer have gotten her through the tragedy.

Whatever happens now, nothing can bring back her mother and her daughters' grandmother.

"I didn't deserve for that little girl over there to only to be held a few times," Stokes-Henley said. "Brianne was only two-and-half months when everything happened."

The appeals court also said the deputies never had probable cause to stop Meready in the first place before he ran from police. The evidence collected in that stop will be thrown out of the next trial.


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