By Sheila Stogsdill

news@joplinglobe.com

JAY, Okla. — A Delaware County judge on Wednesday acquitted a Stillwater man of negligent homicide in connection with the death of a Georgia man after a boating crash on Grand Lake.

Special Judge Alicia Littlefield made the ruling on the seventh day of the nonjury trial of John Special.

Special, 55, faced a misdemeanor count of negligent homicide in the death July 30, 2006, of Murray McGarvey, 35, of Brunswick, Ga.

Littlefield found Special guilty of leaving the scene of an accident and fined him $50. Cheryl Ramsey, Special’s attorney, announced in court that Special would appeal the judge’s ruling on that charge. Ramsey was unavailable for comment after the trial.

“I don’t intend to appeal the decision,” said Eddie Wyant, district attorney.

Wyant said there was no reason to appeal because Littlefield is the “finder of fact.”

“By granting a demurrer, she is stating that there is insufficient evidence to warrant a conviction,” Wyant said.

Littlefield’s ruling came after the state rested its case, and Ramsey asked Littlefield for the directed acquittal.

Throughout the trial, prosecutors argued that a 27-foot boat driven by Special hit a boat in which McGarvey was a passenger, knocking him into the lake.

The collision happened about 2 a.m. near Drowning Creek.

After the collision, Special did not contact authorities. Dee Ann O’Neal, of Edmond, Special’s fiancee, testified that they attempted to call authorities, but electrical power had been knocked out, leaving their land-line phone inoperable.

O’Neal also testified that after the collision, the couple looked for 15 to 30 minutes to see if their boat had hit something.

The next day, Special arranged for his private pilot to fly him back to Stillwater, where he sought medical attention for his injuries, according to testimony.

Ramsey on Wednesday told the court that there was confusion among some of the individuals in both boats as to whether a collision had happened. She said Special was unaware that anyone other than himself had been injured in the incident.

McGarvey’s body was not found until two weeks after the accident.





Another case



Jason L. Bandy, 37, of Tulsa, who was driving the boat in which Murray McGarvey was a passenger, also is charged with negligent homicide. His case has yet to go to trial.

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