HAZARD – A Perry County woman who pleaded guilty to an amended charge of reckless homicide is scheduled for sentencing this week in Perry Circuit Court.
Felicia Abner, 32, of Bonnyman, was indicted in January on charges of murder and reckless driving stemming from a May 2010 crash that killed her three-year-old nephew, who was a passenger in Abner’s vehicle at the time. The indictment alleged that Abner had operated the vehicle “under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to human life.”
In accordance with the plea agreement, last month Abner pleaded guilty to reckless homicide, a Class D felony punishable by a maximum of five years in prison. In exchange for her plea, she will be sentenced to four and a half years in prison, and be eligible for parole after serving 15 percent of the total time.
Abner’s defense attorney, Brent Flowers, described the crash that resulted in charges against his client as a “tragedy,” adding that while Abner may have been driving recklessly at the time, she was not acting in a manner that would have necessitated a murder charge.
“Obviously it’s a tragedy, in that a ... child died as a result of the accident,” Flowers said. “She was originally charged with murder, which I’ve always been very passionate that she was not guilty of murder in this case. It was not intentional.”
A reconstruction of the accident indicated that Abner may have been speeding at the time of the accident, and there was evidence of a small quantity of drugs in her system. Though Flowers noted that he didn’t think she was impaired at the time, all of the evidence in its totality constituted reckless behavior.
“I think there was some evidence that was detrimental to the defendant that the commonwealth had, namely that she was speeding and had drugs in her system,” Flowers remarked. “I think there was also evidence that it was not an intentional crime, and she did not foresee this happening, so we kind of mutually agreed on this plea agreement. I’m happy with it, Felicia is happy, and also the commonwealth could feel that some sort of justice was served.”
Commonwealth’s Attorney Teresa Reed was in court Wednesday afternoon, and not immediately available for comment.
Abner is currently lodged in the Kentucky River Regional Jail in Hazard as she awaits her sentencing this week. She is scheduled to appear in court on Thursday.