Neatherlin sentenced for manslaughter, theft

by C.F. David

Associate District Judge Ronald Kincannon, on Thursday, sentenced Richard Neatherlin, 18, on a plea of guilty as the driver of an SUV stolen and wrecked resulting in the dearth of two teens, Chauncey Aguilar, 15, and his cousin Ariel Aguilar 14. The SUV was stolen and wrecked during the early morning hours of Sept. 4, 2005 . The Aguilars, along with Anthony Rodriguez, 18, who was injured were all passengers in the 2004 Chevrolet Suburban driven by Neatherlin when it overturned at a high rate of speed. A blood test revealed alcohol and THC, (marijuana) in Neatherlin's bloodstream.

At the time of the accident, Neatherlin had been released from jail on a deferred sentence for a charge of concealing stolen property, and possession of a controlled substance.

Neatherlin's attorney, George Leach, and District Attorney Mike Boring had reached a plea agreement, (on the Sept. 4 incident), whereby Neatherlin would receive suspended sentences of 10 years on manslaughter, five years for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, a fine of $500 and be required to make restitution of more than $27, 000 to the Boise City Public Schools for the damage to the SUV. In addition, Neatherlin, (under the plea agreement), would have served about 18 months in a boot camp program before being released on probation. In the boot camp proposal, Neatherlin would have participated in drills, instruction on personal hygiene, taken drug counseling, and upon approved release would have been instructed on where to live, and seek employment. In the process he would have been able to “make rank” and mentor younger inmates.

Kincannon refused the plea agreement, and sentenced Neatherlin to 10 years on the manslaughter charge, five on the UAUMV, and suspended the five years on the concealment charge. Neatherlin will also be financially liable for fines and restitution.

“On Sept. 4, 2005 , a wreck occurred,” Kincannon said. There were four people that I know of in that vehicle. And each knew that none of them had a right to be in that vehicle,” he continued. “We are here as a consequence of that wreck.”

Neatherlin sat with his head bowed as Kincannon continued, “It is evident that alcohol and THC, were in your bloodstream. That their lives, (the Aguilars), were cut short is a tragic loss.”

Kincannon continued by saying that the tragic events of Sept. 4 were the result of decisions made by Neatherlin, and others outside the courtroom. “We need to look at the big picture. I asked for and received the rap sheets for all the parents,” Kincannon said as he held a stack of papers aloft. “One parent had 34 aliases; another was in an alcohol-related wreck just days before this one. Another was charged for DUI in Jackson County Oklahoma. None can say that their hands are clean,” Kincannon said. “However, it falls to you, the surviving member of this mess. I have to balance the loss of two living, breathing human beings,” Kincannon continued. “Congress has said that at 18, you have become an adult. You, stand responsible in the eyes of the law. Seventeen days…17 days before driving a stolen vehicle…a mere 17 days before; you stood in this courtroom,” Kincannon said. He then played a tape of Neatherlin's August court hearing on his July 1, stolen property possession, and drug charges. On the tape, Kincannon could be heard telling Neatherlin that by accepting and abiding by the August plea agreement he could, in five years be able to say he hadn't been convicted of a felony. Kincannon's taped voice echoed through the courtroom, “Being able to say you've never committed a felony is a lot.”

Kincannon could then be heard admonishing Neatherlin that if he violated any of the rules and regulations of the deferred sentence that he would serve the full five years. “Don't make me do that,” Kincannon said. He turned the tape machine off, and looked at Neatherlin, “As the court sits here today. There is only one conclusion. You lied. There is no reason to take your word for anything. Your word is worthless. I now have to weigh the crime against the safety of the citizens of the state of Oklahoma and Cimarron County . You had the opportunity to live down a felony. You chose to throw those keys away,” Kincannon said. “I don't agree with this plea agreement. You don't get to walk away from this.”

Neatherlin was sentenced to 10 years on the charge of manslaughter, with eight years to serve; five years on the unlawful use of a motor vehicle, served consecutively with the manslaughter term, and behind those sentences, five years for the possession of stolen property, and one year for possession of a controlled substance, both suspended and consecutive; totaling 15 years served and or suspended, along with fines and restitution. In the best case scenario, Neatherlin will be at least 33 before he doesn't answer to authorities. The judge also stipulated that Neatherlin obtain his GED, and perhaps some college hours while serving the sentence(s).

Boise City News
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Boise City, Oklahoma 73933-0278
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