Trial Ends With Man Being Found Guilty Of Manslaughter

By: Angela Sparkman Email
By: Angela Sparkman Email

After nine hours of deliberations, a Pike County jury finds a man guilty of manslaughter.

Billy Reed was facing a murder charge after allegedly driving drunk earlier this year on U.S. 119 and killing Ronnie Church, who was on a motorcycle.

Families on both sides didn't like the verdict.

The verdict filled the courtroom with tears.

It took the jury nine hours to decide to convict 31 year old Billy Reed and neither side was happy. Billy Reed and his family were upset he was found guilty.

The victim's family and prosecutors were upset Reed was not convicted of murder.

“I am disappointed obviously. We had absolute proof that this man was driving on different drugs, killed a man that never saw it coming. If this is not a murder case, I don't know if I'll ever have one that's any plainer,” Rick Bartley said.

Police testified Reed was driving under the influence when he slammed 60 miles an hour into Ronnie Church, who was on a motorcycle at a red light.

Church's family was too upset over the verdict to talk on camera.

“It's very hard to understand how a man can kill a member of your family, take them away, a man who has a wife and kids and not serve possibly more than a year over that? It's hard to understand when you're the family member,” Rick Bartley said.

Reed's family was also too upset to talk on camera, but wanted to say they are sorry to the Church family.

“Mr. Reed's family has a great deal of sympathy for the church family and wish them well,” Attorney Steve Owens said.

Reed's attorney admitted he has a problem with drugs, but says Reed wants to beat his addiction while in jail and change his life.

“Hopefully his life will be turned around and the lives of his family as well,” Owens said.

He was taken into custody after the verdict.

The jury recommended a ten year sentence but officials say Reed could be eligible for parole in about 17 months due to time already served.

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