An Illinois man, Cecil Conner, was found guilty of the drunk driving death of his girlfriend’s 5-year-old son.
The conviction came after Conner’s defense team attempted to shift some of the blame for the child’s death to a police officer. The jury decided, after hours of deliberation in the Will County courtroom, that Conner alone was responsible for the tragic outcome of the May 10 DUI crash.
Conner crashed into a tree, drove through a fence, and hit another tree in the accident that killed young Michael Langford, Jr., before being charged with drunk driving, according to an article in the Herald-News.
Part of Conner’s unsuccessful DUI defense was the claim that police had some part to play in his drunk driving and subsequent accident. He argued that police arrested his girlfriend, his designated driver, on a suspended license during a previous traffic stop, then ordered him to drive home. Conner claimed that they threatened to arrest him if he didn’t drive away.
Conner was drunk, and family members have criticized law enforcement for, according to their story, ignoring the fact that he was an impaired driver when they ordered him to drive home.
The prosecution in the case successfully argued that Conner alone was responsible for the decision to drive drunk and endanger the child.
Per Illinois DUI law, Conner could face up to 14 years behind bars. He’ll be sentenced in May.
Conner admitted to being drunk following a house party. His girlfriend, Kathie LaFond, was driving, but was arrested on the way home. Conner took the wheel, and police said that neither Conner nor LaFond informed the police that he had been drinking that night. Prosecution were also skeptical that police ordered Conner to drive home.
Conner, however, continued to drive drunk, even after he called a friend for help. The friend told him to stop the car, but Conner drove on, reaching 66 miles per hour at points, before he drove over several lawns, through trees, catapulting his car to the point that it uprooted a tree.
Young Langford did not survive the poor decision.
The jury deliberated for nine hours before reaching its guilty verdict on two aggravated drunk driving charges.