Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Jennifer Carty, Ravin Billington DUI Manslaughter case - Palm Bay, Florida
On September 21st, 2007, Palm Bay, Florida teens Jennifer Carty and Ravin Billington were involved in a drunken car wreck that resulted in the death of Ravin Billington. After over 2 years of investigation, it is still impossible to tell exactly which of the teen girls were actually driving the car during the accident. The car belonged to Jennifer Carty, but several of their friends testified that Ravin Billington was often seen driving Jennifer's car. Here's the kicker - Jennifer was knocked unconscious during the wreck, she had a blood alcohol level of .126, and she doesn't remember the accident or, more importantly in this case, who was driving. Jennifer is being charged for DUI Manslaughter by the state of Florida and the case is coming to a close today.
Jennifer Carty and Ravin Billington were partying with two friends in the parking lot of a BP gas station located at 6600 Babcock - apparently the local teen hangout. The girls were drinking and occasionally jumping in pickup trucks with two guy friends to go "mudding" at a nearby swampy area known as BCC Lakes. Surveillance footage from the BP shows the two girls coming and going at different times throughout the night to use the restroom, buy cigarettes, etc. According to evidence and testimony from the BP store clerk, the group of friends remained in the BP parking lot for a short time after midnight and then they left. At approximately 12:45am, one of the guys the girls were with earlier that night, "Tyler", called 911 and reported that while he was driving down Babcock street, a car sped past him, lost control and flipped over several times before eventually landing in a ditch full of water. Tyler ran from his truck towards the car and realized that it belonged to his friend Jennifer Carty. The girls had been thrown from the car and were both lying face down in the ditch, Ravin was approximately 14 feet from the car and Jennifer about 30 feet from the car. Tyler reported that they were both unconscious but breathing. He drug Jennifer from the watery ditch to the nearby curb. Tyler claimed that Ravin was unconscious but still breathing at the time. Jennifer Carty was soon Life-Flighted to a nearby hospital, while Ravin Billington was pronounced dead at the scene.
The trial of the case aired live on TRU tv this week and they are moments away from a verdict. After hearing all of the evidence and witness testimony, it is impossible to tell which of the two girls was driving the car during the wreck. The prosecution even offered up a lesser charge of a normal DUI, almost as if they knew that they did not have enough evidence to convict Jennifer Carty of DUI Manslaughter.
One thing is for sure, defense attorney Meriah Park is not someone you would ever want to hire. Meriah Park's questioning of the witnesses was stuttery, cluttered and often confusing to the witnesses as you watched them lean forward and wince to understand what the heck she was talking about. Long pauses, and just outright clumsy questioning made some of the witnesses quite irritated. In her closing statements she sounded like an overly righteous kindergarten teacher, speaking to the jury as if they were 4 year olds - almost SCOLDING them. She was swaying back and forth at the podium, and delivered blustering babble while flushed with far too much female hormone-induced emotion. Luckily for Jennifer Carty this case pretty much solved itself as the prosecution clearly didn't have enough evidence, because if Jennifer were relying on Meriah Park to save her case she would be behind bars.
The verdict is in - Jennifer Carty was found not guilty today at 1:40pm ET.