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Chambers pleads no contest in homecoming deaths; sentenced to life

The Tulsa World - January 10, 2017 2:03 pm

STILLWATER — The murder case against the woman charged in the deadly crash that occurred during the 2015 homecoming parade at Oklahoma State University came to an end Tuesday after she entered a no contest plea.

Adacia Avery Chambers, 26, was set to begin jury trial proceedings Tuesday morning on four counts of second-degree murder and 42 counts of assault and battery by means or force likely to produce death.

Under terms of the plea deal, Chambers would receive:

• four life sentences, to run concurrently, for each of the murder counts;

• 10-year sentences, to run concurrently, for each of the 39 assault counts;

• the 10-year term would be served consecutively to the life sentence.

Chambers was charged Nov. 4, 2015, for her role in the Oct. 24, 2015, crash at Hall of Fame Avenue and Main Street in Stillwater during OSU’s Sea of Orange Homecoming Parade. The crash killed 65-year-old OSU employees Marvin and Bonnie Stone; 23-year-old University of Central Oklahoma graduate student Nikita Nakal; and 2-year-old Nash Lucas. More than 40 people were injured.

No contest is a plea in which the defendant neither admits nor disputes a charge — an alternative to a pleading of guilty or not guilty, but still resulting in a conviction. The judge on Tuesday noted that the no contest plea cannot be used against Chambers in civil proceedings; there are at least two pending lawsuits against her.

Police reports state that Chambers was heard saying she was “going home forever” just before crashing into an unmanned Stillwater Police Department motorcycle, traffic barricades and parade spectators. Chambers also reportedly said she wanted to be “free” and felt suicidal at the time of the crash, but not at the time she was booked into jail.

A report from the National Transportation Safety Board indicated Chambers accelerated from 54 to 59 mph in the seconds preceding the crash.

Defense attorney Tony Coleman has argued in the past that his client’s mental state the day of the crash played a role in what occurred, noting that a medical professional retained by the defense determined she has a mental illness. Payne County District Attorney Laura Austin Thomas has said the state has the right to use its own expert witness to question her mental-health defense, as a competency evaluation from the Oklahoma Forensic Center in Vinita found that she is fit to stand trial.

Coleman has fired back multiple times at public perception of the case, alleging that police went on a “media frenzy” by hosting a pre-emptive news conference and providing false information that Chambers was intoxicated. The Tulsa World has previously reported that a blood test revealed she had a 0.01 percent blood alcohol concentration after the crash.

 

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