By LISA SCHLICHTMAN
The trial of a local man charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection with the alcohol poisining death of a Monett teenager is scheduled to begin on Monday, March 23 in the Stone County Courthouse in Galena.
Brandon Himes, 24, of Pierce City, was arrested in March of 2007 and charged with involuntary manslaughter in the first degree and supplying liquor to a minor. He is accused of recklessly causing the death of Jessica Murphy by pouring intoxicating beverages into a funnel from which she had been drinking.
Murphy, an 18-year-old from Verona, was found dead in the bedroom of a home located at 512 Frisco St. in Monett on the morning of March 4, 2007, following a birthday party the night before.
Witness statements indicate that Murphy was visibly drunk that night when she was asked to do a beer bong, using a six-foot, three-inch hose attached to a quart-sized funnel. According to witnesses, Himes was seen pouring approximately 375 milliliters of vodka and 375 milliliters of tequila into the bong in addition to the beer.
The affidavit of probable cause filed in the case also states that Murphy was seen drinking all of the alcohol poured into the beer bong. In a statement to the police, Himes said he did not intend to kill Murphy and that he poured only one type of alcohol into the beer bong, not two.
A toxicology report issued following Murphy autopsy showed her blood alcohol level to be .406.
Himes, who is represented by Cassville attorney John Lewright, was granted a change of venue by Barry County Associate Circuit Court Judge on May 21, 2008. His case was transferred to Lawrence County, and the trial date set for March 23.
Due to process of moving all court office facilities into the new Lawrence County Courthouse, the location Hime's trial had to be moved to the Stone County Courthouse in Galena.
Himes' jury will be selected from a Stone County jury pool. Two days have been set aside for the trial, which will be prosecuted by Barry County Prosecutor Johnnie Cox.