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Ryan Coventon

Man Sentenced to Life in Prison in DUI-Drug Crash that Killed 6-Year-Old

Ryan Coventon - Saturday, August 25, 2018

A 48-year-old Edmond man has been sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to numerous charges stemming from a fatal wrong-way accident that killed a little boy.

On April 15, 2015, Kelly Waldon Corn was under the influence of methamphetamine and pain killers when he left a struck an employee's vehicle in a P.F. Chang's parking lot before fleeing the wrong way on the Kilpatrick Turnpike. Multiple witnesses called to report the wrong way driver, but before police could respond, Corn's vehicle struck a Lexus carrying a mother and her two young sons. The woman and a 9-year-old boy suffered serious injuries; the 6-year-old child was killed.

Police found meth and pills in Corn's vehicle, and toxicology reports found him to be under the influence of both at the time of the wreck.

In March of this year, Corn pleaded guilty to four felony charges and one misdemeanor charge: second-degree murder, meth possession, two counts of causing an accident with great bodily injury while driving under the influence, and leaving the scene of an accident involving an unattended vehicle.

At sentencing, the deceased child's parents and older brother, now 12, spoke of the devastation the accident and the loss of their loved one brought. Corn, whose own 2-year-old son died in an accidental drowning last year, acknowledged the hurt he causes, saying, "I am remorseful and I understand your anger. I do accept responsibility. No words can explain how I feel. ... I'm sorry from the bottom of my heart. . . . There is nothing more precious than a baby boy."

Oklahoma County District Judge Cindy Truong appeared unmoved by Corn's apology, sentencing him to life in prison. Upon announcing his sentence, Truong told Corn, "You deserve every day of that life sentence for what you put [this family] through."

In Oklahoma, a life sentence is calculated at 35 years for the purpose of parole. Second degree murder is an "85 Percent Crime," which means a person must serve 85 percent of the sentence before becoming eligible for parole. Because of these two stipulations, Corn will not be eligible for parole until he is in his 80s.

A fatal DUI accident, whether alcohol-related or drug-related, may be charged as either first degree manslaughter or second degree murder. In general, the decision to charge as manslaughter or murder is based on whether the perpetrator was committing a misdemeanor or a felony at the time of the accident. In general, DUI is a misdemeanor, and therefore a fatal DUI accident would be charged as first degree manslaughter. However, repeat DUI offenses are felonies, as is drug possession. Either of these two things will elevate the charge to second degree murder.

Under Oklahoma law, first degree manslaughter is punishable by a minimum of four years in prison; second degree murder is punishable by ten years to life.


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