Jury Deliberating in Melrose Place Actress Trial

Melrose Place Actress ManslaughterJurors in the Amy Locane-Bovenizer manslaughter trial began deliberating and sifting through dozens of photographs and testimonies from 52 witnesses. Locane-Bovenizer, best known for her Melrose Place role, is accused of being intoxicated at the time of the crash and faces up to 30 years in prison.

Locane-Bovenizer is accused of killing a Montgomery Township woman, explained NJ.com. Prosecutors said, in closing arguments in Superior Court that “all roads lead back to alcohol,” and call for the conviction of the allegedly drunk actress on charges of aggravated manslaughter and assault by auto. Meanwhile, said NJ.com, the defense argued that the 40-year-old actress was caught in a “perfect storm” that included being chased by another woman who, said prosecutors, took the law into her own hands.

As we reported last year, it is alleged that just prior to the June 27, 2010 accident, Locane-Bovenizer, of Hopewell, New Jersey, was being pursued by the driver of a vehicle she had rear-ended at the intersection of Cherry Valley Road and Route 206 in Princeton Township. Locane-Bovenizer’s 2007 Chevy Tahoe hit Fred and Helene Seeman’s vehicle as they were pulling into their driveway on Cherry Hill Road in Montgomery Township. Helene Seeman, 60, was pronounced dead at the scene; her husband was airlifted to Robert Wood Johnson University Medical Center in New Brunswick after sustaining 10 broken ribs.

Locane-Bovenizer tested with a .23 blood-alcohol, nearly three times the legal limit of .08, said NJ.com. The level continually rose through the night, according to Somerset County Assistant Prosecutor Matthew Murphy, who argues that the case centers on alcohol and a woman who consumed drinks throughout the day and then got behind the wheel of her car. “A reasonable person, I submit to you, would not have engaged in this kind of conduct,” Murphy told jurors in Superior Court in Somerville, said NJ.com.

According to Murphy, Locane-Bovenizer was driving at 53 mph on a dark country road where the speed limit is 35 mph. Murphy also blamed alcohol on the actress’ bizarre behavior just after the deadly crash; Locane-Bovenizer was allegedly giggling and talking “incessantly,” said NJ.com. According to a prior NJ.com report, Locane-Bovenizer was found in a roadside ditch. At the Miranda hearing, New Jersey Police Officer William Wilkes testified that she seemed unaware that she had been involved in a car accident. “She was happy, giggling, laughing,” Wilkes testified.

Wilkes also testified that Locane-Bovenizer, who sustained no serious injuries, appeared to flirt with him while in her hospital room, and described her behavior in the hours after the accident as ranging from bewilderment to belligerence to playfulness, NJ.com said. Wilkes testified that Locane-Bovenizer admitted to drinking four glasses of wine and a beer that evening, and asked if she would be charged with drunk driving.

The defense argues that some of the blame should be placed on Maureen Ruckelshaus, the driver of the vehicle involved in the first crash. Locane-Bovenizer rear-ended Ruckelshaus’ van minutes before the fatal crash and was distracted and speeding on the dark road, frightened following a confrontation with Ruckelshaus. Locane-Bovenizer sped off and Ruckeslhaus chased her during a “four-mile, 10-minute odyssey of riding her bumper,” according to the defense attorney, said NJ.com. The attorney also said that Fred Seeman, the sedan’s driver, should not have made what some witnesses said was a slow, deliberate left turn.

Meanwhile, a Superior Court judge just rejected a late defense request to remove a juror in the case, saying that juror No. 6 was involved in a serious car accident some 40 years ago and that another juror suggested that juror No. 6 tell Superior Court Judge Robert Reed and attorneys in the case about the accident, said NJ.com. The juror said that her prior accident would not affect her judgment in the trial; however, the defense was not convinced and wanted to speak with the other juror to understand more about the “nature of the issue.” Judge Reed declined saying he wanted to maintain the integrity of the deliberations and that “this is an inquiry that might have been made during jury selection.”

Fred Seeman is being represented in his civil suit against Locane-Bovenizer by the national law firm of Parker Waichman LLP.

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