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Evidence tossed in vehicular death case



Published: Sat, October 1, 2011 @ 12:03 a.m.

By John W. Goodwin Jr.

jgoodwin@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

The court case against a Canfield woman charged with vehicular homicide may go forward, but it will have to be without statements made to police or the results of a blood-alcohol test.

Judge R. Scott Krichbaum of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court has ruled that the blood drawn at St. Elizabeth Health Center and sent to a laboratory for testing, along with statements made to police in the case against Rachel Zorger, 25, of Calla Road, are inadmissible in court.

Zorger is charged with two felony counts of aggravated vehicular homicide and one misdemeanor count of child endangering in the killing of her unborn child and a woman in an accident earlier this year.

Darla Schumacher, 55, of Detwiler Road, was killed just after 5 p.m. April 12 when the car she was driving collided with Zorger’s car. The accident took place on Detwiler just south of Western Reserve Road in Beaver Township.

Zorger, who was six months pregnant at the time, drove left of center, causing the accident, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

The patrol said she had a blood-alcohol level of 0.259. The legal limit in Ohio is 0.08.

Atty. Mark Lavelle, representing Zorger, asked the court to throw out the statements and blood work after an evidence suppression hearing Sept. 7. Prosecutors, according to the court, were invited but failed to present witnesses who could explain why the statements and blood work should be admitted at trial.

Court documents show that Judge Krichbaum, after the prosecution’s failure to introduce witnesses at the Sept. 7 hearing, ruled that any witnesses who were present in court but not presented would no longer be permitted to give testimony.

Kenneth Cardinal, an assistant county prosecutor, described the actions of the prosecutor previously handling the case as a “meltdown” and asked the court to impose a different form of sanction instead of barring testimony from the potential witnesses.

The judge said the order is not a punishment. He said an opportunity to present the witnesses was given, and prosecutors chose not to present them.

The defense argued that the tests to determine Zorger’s blood-alcohol level were not taken voluntarily and were coerced. The defense also argued that the person performing the tests did not act according to state regulations.


Comments

1AndyEippert(2 comments)posted 2 years, 12 months ago

Seems a shame that justice could be denied because the judge has a snit going with the prosecutor.

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2angry1(1 comment)posted 2 years, 12 months ago

Is this the way our criminal justice system really works? This criminal, who had a clear blatant disregard for the life of her unborn child, AND took the life of an innocent woman who was on her way home from work, is going to get away with a slap on the wrist because of a technicality by the prosecutors office? So the actual evidence does not exist because of this technicality? So it doesn't matter the amount of witnesses and what the BAC actually was, it is not admissible in court based on what?? So because the way the blood alchohol test was taken was supposidly administered wrong, she was less drunk and doesn't deserve to be punished for killing somebody and her own child? Lets not forget the record this woman has, she is not the innocent victim. This is a complete injustice to the Schumaker family. Zorger should be in prison and that fact that she won't be is just ridiculous. I have lost complete faith in this justice system.

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3db(280 comments)posted 2 years, 12 months ago

This stinks to high heaven; Judge Krichbaum is crooked.

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4southsidedave(4780 comments)posted 2 years, 12 months ago

More incompetance!

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5seminole(476 comments)posted 2 years, 12 months ago

You have got to be kidding me, right? This trash is going to get off on this because the incompetence of the system and Gains Office of Clowns?Excerpts: "Prosecutors, according to the court, were invited but failed to present witnesses who could explain why the statements and blood work should be admitted at trial"..."Kenneth Cardinal, an assistant county prosecutor, described the actions of the prosecutor previously handling the case as a “meltdown”...and I bet the goof that had the meltdown and botched this case is still getting his/her $70K per year, right? These incompetent fools should be dismissed from their lucrative positions and replaced with first-year law students, or even someone that thinks they know something about the law. These morons continually drop the ball on cases that allow felons to be back on the street and the worse part is they don't give a sh--!!! Just another f-up, they still get paid and praised by the King Jerkoff, Gains. And this pompous ass had the nerve to say he needed all that budget money to pay for these crack prosecutors, remember? Keep screwing up, you well groomed ass-kissers, keep going to your social events, keep getting your tails kicked by the ingrate defense lawyers that get over on technicalities allowed by the crooked judges. makes you feel really good about our system of justice, doesn't it. These are all shining examples of why this area is full of pompous corrupt citizens and elected officials. If you can get away with it then you get away with it. The ones sworn to uphold the laws are corrupt so there is no real interest in true law, just pass each case through, plea deal it or screw it up so there is nothing viable to "prosecute" with, then move on to a nice dinner with your spouse or mistress, you self absorbed fools...

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6lilgandee(103 comments)posted 2 years, 12 months ago

So true Seminole, except you forgot while wanting more money by levies and any other way they can-like putting fear in the public about layoffs of police etc...etc....awesome job.

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7nipsy(133 comments)posted 2 years, 12 months ago

I smell a PAYOFF!!!!!

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8MARGEOMATIC(128 comments)posted 2 years, 12 months ago

the perp. was prego and drinking- endangering her baby- plus killing a lady on the way home from work. Gheesh- Any evidence from that crime scene needs to be presented this must include witnesses - why where they even at court if they were not going to be presented? something is wrong with this- this is Crazy !

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9lilgandee(103 comments)posted 2 years, 12 months ago

Kenny Cardinal-good luck and hope you put her in jail where she belongs. By any chance did they check the baby's blood alcohol content? If so that would have been allowed right? I am just saying all avenues should be tested for reasons like these. That defense attorney is not a decent one in my opinion and the ethic board does nothing when lodging a complaint either. Sincere luck to you Ken. You are a good and fair lawyer, that's a fact.

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10NoWorries(6 comments)posted 2 years, 12 months ago

The other prosecutor was Natasha Frenchko and this is not the 1st time the ball has been dropped.
http://www.vindy.com/content/local_re...

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