Mace accepts a lesser charge of second-degree manslaughter in exchange for guilty plea

Last updated: September 05. 2013 12:32PM - 1026 Views
Jack Latta jlatta@civitasmedia.com

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PRESTONSBURG — The murder case of a man accused of killing a 63-year-old woman in a car crash as he ran from police will skip trial and go directly to sentencing, following a plea agreement reached with the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office this week.

James E. Mace, 23, of Pikeville, was indicted earlier this year on one count of murder and one count of first-degree assault, for his part in a May 15, 2012, car accident which claimed the life of 63-year-old Brenda Montgomery and seriously injured Montgomery’s passenger Elsie Oakley.

On Wednesday, an agreement was reached between the attorney for Mace and Commonwealth’s Attorney Arnold Brent Turner. As per the agreement, the charge of murder was reduced and the persistent felony offender dismissed with Mace’s guilty plea, to one count of second-degree manslaughter and one count of first-degree assault.

According to court records, Mace will serve 10 years for count 1, and 10 years for count 2, which will run consecutively. Because the second count falls under the violent offender statute, Mace will have to serve 85 percent of that sentence before he will become eligible for parole.

According to Turner, Mace must also finish serving a current prison sentence for other offenses before he will begin serving time for the current charges.

Mace was the driver of the 2000 Chevrolet Malibu that crashed into a vehicle driven by Jackson resident Montgomery and her passenger Oakley, during what police said was a pursuit, which began on Rough and Tough. Floyd County deputies said that Mace and his passenger, Jonathan Crider, were spotted on the old strip mine, melting stolen wire down for its copper.

Police said that when the pair spotted the deputies’ cruisers, they fled off the mountain towards the main road, where officers lost track of the vehicle. Moments later, Mace’s vehicle collided head-on with Montgomery’s on Route 114.

Montgomery was transported to Highlands Regional Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead by Floyd County Coroner Greg Nelson. Oakley was transported to Highlands Regional Medical Center and then airlifted to Cabell Huntington Hospital.

Mace had to be extricated from the vehicle, and the stolen wire that filled the car, before he and Crider were also airlifted to Cabell Huntington.

Mace will next appear in court on Oct. 25, for sentencing.

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