The Supreme Court of Georgia has upheld the conviction of a woman who hit and killed a child as he walked to school.
The court issued its unanimous decision Nov. 5 that the conviction of Shirley Ogilvie, 44, of Lithonia, will stand, reversing a Court of Appeals decision.
DeKalb County Solicitor General Sherry Boston sought further review of the case by the Supreme Court, after the Court of Appeals overturned it in November 2011.
“This little boy did not have to die as he walked to school, and our hearts go out to the family of Kameron Dunmore,” Boston said.
Ogilvie’s SUV hit 7-year-old Dunmore in a crosswalk Feb. 2, 2009, at the intersection of South Deshon Road and Wildwood Trace in Lithonia. A crossing guard was holding up a stop sign for traffic as the second-grader walked to Princeton Elementary School.
The boy was transported to Grady Memorial Hospital where he died.
In September 2010, a jury found Ogilvie guilty of second degree vehicular homicide and failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk. The judge sentenced Ogilvie to one year in jail.
Barring any additional appeals, Ogilvie will have to begin serving her sentence.
Ogilvie’s attorneys appealed the conviction stating that state court Judge Alvin T. Wong should have given the jury instructions about the ‘accident’ defense,” Boston said.
Ogilvie “wanted to argue that it was an accident—it was an accident therefore [she] didn’t mean to do it,” Boston said.
Boston’s office filed a petition with the Georgia Supreme Court and argued the case in July.
Boston said prosecutors wanted the court to clarify under what circumstances a defendant can argue ‘accident’ in vehicular homicide in the second degree.
The Solicitor General’s Office asked the Georgia Supreme Court to review the “legal technical issue” because “it was an unsettled area of law.”
“She was not entitled to an accident defense,” Boston said. “We felt that the trial judge in this case was absolutely correct,” Boston said.
When the Court of Appeals overturned the case, it “was creating a new avenue of law that would have far-reaching ramifications for second-degree vehicular homicide,” Boston said.
Boston said prosecutors were glad the Supreme Court took the case and came back with a unanimous decision.
“It was a victory for the victim’s family,” Boston said. “The family would have had to endure a second trial.”