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1/31/2014 6:00:00 AM
DUI death could land man in prison for more than three decades
Plea offer skips a trial, imposes 15-year term
Delbert Brechler
Delbert Brechler
Doug McMurdo
Miner Staff Reporter

KINGMAN - A motorist who was allegedly impaired when he killed a 17-year-old Kingman resident in a July 21 crash learned Thursday he could be sentenced to up to 36 years in prison if convicted at trial.

Or, Delbert Brechler could get no more than 15 years if he accepts an offer from the state to settle the case and avoid trial.

Brechler, 46, faces charges of manslaughter by DUI and aggravated assault by DUI in the death of Cody Raymond, who died several hours after an intoxicated Brechler allegedly rear-ended the 1990 Ford pickup Raymond was driving on Route 66 at milepost 59.

Brechler was behind the wheel of a 1998 Volvo driving at least the 55 mph limit when he struck the rear of Raymond's truck. According to the state, a blood test determined Brechler's blood alcohol concentration was 0.206. The legal limit is 0.08.

Brechler did not speak Thursday at a settlement conference in Superior Court, other than to answer questions posed by Judge Steven Conn.

The case will be adjudicated by Judge Rick Williams, but Conn conducted the settlement conference, which are held to ensure defendants understand the consequences of any plea deals that are on the table versus going to trial, potential defenses, the maximum and minimum term in prison they face if convicted and other issues.

Prosecutor Rob Albright said the state offered Brechler a term of seven to 15 years if he pleaded guilty to manslaughter in Raymond's death and five to 10 years if he also pleaded guilty to aggravated assault. The second charge regards injuries reportedly sustained by Raymond's passenger, Jesse Selder, who was 18 at the time of the crash.

Selder did not complain of injuries following the deadly wreck, said Albright, but later experienced problems with his neck and back.

Brechler was uninjured.

The key benefit of the state's offer is that the two sentences would run concurrently.

Conn advised Brechler that he could get consecutive sentences, meaning he would have to finish one term before he began the second. If given the maximum penalty, he could receive 21 years on the manslaughter charge and 15 years for aggravated assault.

To get the maximum sentences, said Conn, the state would have to show aggravating factors exist - and prosecutor Albright alleged they do. Brechler, for example, has a previous DUI conviction in the last seven years. Albright said the emotional harm the death has had on the victim's family - several were in the courtroom Thursday - was another aggravating factor that would be considered should Brechler go to trial and ultimately be convicted.

"My experience is when someone dies before their time due to a drunk driver, the family always suffers," said Conn. He said relatives take an active role in the case and even write judges letters.

Still, Conn said it is unlikely Brechler would get a total of three dozen years, saying such lengthy sentences are usually reserved for people who "deliberately" kill someone.

But the judge also said he is personally against concurrent sentencing and there is no guarantee other judges would be more lenient.

He said defendants get a "free crime" when sentenced concurrently.

"It's like telling the victims and the family they don't matter," he said.

Conn advised Brechler the state only needs to prove he was impaired when he drove recklessly and caused Raymond's death. His defense attorney did not discuss any possible defenses.

"If you think you could get less than 15 years (at trial) then you have nothing to gain" by entering a guilty plea, said Conn. "Or, you could say, 'I made a really bad decision and I caused the death of someone and I don't want to put their family through the ordeal of a trial.'

"I'm not trying to lay a guilt trip on you."

Brechler's attorney could announce his decision at a status hearing scheduled for March 14 in front of Williams.

Brechler remains free on bail.

Related Stories:
• DUI fatality defendant skips start of his trial
• Trial in DUI death of Kingman teen set
• Obituary: Cody James Raymond
• Two killed in Kingman-area wrecks

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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Article comment by: joan livsey

oh dear lord. we just found out about this horrific ACCIDENT. im so sorry for the loss of that boy. del has made a horrible choice to drink and drive. it has cost BOTH families the lives of their sons .Del was our friend, he was a sweet and loving friend. He did not have a mean bone in his body and I NEVER saw him angry! i know in my heart he would never laugh at the grief of the families or what he has done.

Posted: Monday, February 10, 2014
Article comment by: people are people

He will have to live with the fact someone died as a result of his actions. Unfortunately it will only make him want to drown his sorrows more. Alcohol is a depressant, that means it depresses or removes, however temporary, feelings of guilt and inadequacy the drinker wants to escape from. I have real issues with drunk and under the influence drivers. This was a second offense. Now he has hurt his own family as well. Don't you think both families are tortured by this? One can only hope that such a tragedy can be avoided. There has been alot of coverage on this and if it stops one driver from driving under the influence, then that's a battle won. I would like to see mandantory counciling and Community Service to be done in E.R. of the hospital for any driver arrested for DUI. Strict? A sixth offending dui driver nearly took my life. He was given 6 years and served 18 months. My sentence is a lifetime of disability and pain.

Posted: Friday, February 7, 2014
Article comment by: buster brown

sorry for the love and grief i feel for both of these FAMILIES. i must watch these lapses into compassion. gotta stop smoking all that mary j juana especially while studying the new testament.

Posted: Thursday, February 6, 2014
Article comment by: Forever Scared

I was there on the scene of this horrific accident, I watched as the emergency personal pulled that young boy from his rolled truck, that he was trapped in. His mother was forced to stand-by and just watch as they pulled him from his vehicle. She had no choice but to call his father and tell him he needs to come to the hospital because their son was in a crash and is in very bad condition (unknown if he will make it) The "alleged" DRUNK DRIVER was on the opposite side of the road with the DPS officers attempting his field sobriety test, so intoxicated he almost fell and told the officer "I can't do that", "Ya, there's no ***** way". The passenger that was in the White truck was so worried about his friend he didn't realize his own injuries.
Buster you say we all make mistakes, if this drunk would have learned from his first DUI this death and terrible tragedy would have been avoided.
Darcy at least you still HAVE your 17 year old!
Put yourself in that mother or fathers shoes. Your son may or may not make it, the drunk tells the cop he can't complete the field sobriety test cause he knows he is to drunk. But he wasn't to drunk to drive

Posted: Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Article comment by: darcy wyant

And yes our mother does cry daily not only for her son that has caused this tragedy but for the other family as well.just because he drove drunk doesnt mean we condone those actions that led to this..or that we dont feel loss on this end.its callous to think that someone like you would even try to measure a strangers pain.u know nothing about us as a family.

Posted: Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Article comment by: Traci Hutch

Both families are going through hell. Pain and loss cannot be judged by anyone but the people going through it..Who are you to say no remorse is being you know anything about HIM or his family? A tragedy like this rips both families apart whether you want to believe it or not.

Posted: Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Article comment by: darcy wyant

Not once did i say the pain was the same.i did say it was hell for both families.much sadness all the way around.i feel for everyone involved especially the parents on both sides.i have a 17 yr old and i am far from callous.whats callous is people who think that this tragedy doesnt affect both families.

Posted: Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Article comment by: buster brown

this dude dont look angry to me, he looks drunk. i can imagine when he sobered up he just wanted to die. no excuse mind you....but what a waste for all concerned. we all make bad choices in this awful world but this guy screwed up royally. and a kid is dead. and this guy is done for. what a drag.

Posted: Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Article comment by: oh of course

This guy will get 30 years (deserved) and Russell Shield will only get 10 for his murder. Seems legit. yay judicial system.

Posted: Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Article comment by: A thousand words

The Mug shot shows a face without remorse, guilt, or sadness. The picture shows an angry face. A face thats only sorry its owner was captured and is being held accountible. An angry face that looks like no matter what...It wants a drink and right now.

Im sorry I dont feel bad at all for the Face I see looking at me on this page.

Honestly Id rather see a recent picture of his victim enjoying life unaware of the eminent meeting with a very angry face.

Thats the person and family I feel sad and remorse for during their loss and suffering.

Theres no excuse to leave a bar drunk and drive away. Please.....dont even try to give me a reason to drive after drinking. Im not alone in saying Ive had enough of drunk drivers.

My new Brother in law drove drunk a decade ago. He was hit by another drunk driver. He lived. In his state the surviving driver is charged with manslaughter. He spent over three years incarcerated. Today He will be the first to say He deserved every minute and after paying his debt to society. He still does and will hold himself accountible for the other drivers death till his death. He is the hardest anti drunk driving supported Ive ever know..having walked the walk and learned how wrong he was

Posted: Monday, February 3, 2014
Article comment by: Forever Hurting

@ Wyant

Do you really think the pain is the same? Do you really think your mothers pain is the same as Cody's mothers pain?

We have had to watch HIM laugh with his attorney after court hearings, laugh with his family while walking into the courthouse. Your brother caused an accident after chosing to drink and drive at 3x the legal limit. His actions resulted in the death of a 17 year old young man that was actually doing something with his life. Not an ounce of remorse has been seen.

Tell me, Does your mother cry everyday over the death of her son? Does she have nightmares of seeing her son's lifeless body on a hospital bed covered in blood from the accident?

To insinuate your family suffers as much as the victims family is very callous.

A $20 cab ride could have prevented the death of this young man. How much was spent on the aclohol involved?

Posted: Sunday, February 2, 2014
Article comment by: darcy wyant

All of u may wanr to hold judgment until its all over sure its hell for BOTH families regardless....

Posted: Sunday, February 2, 2014
Article comment by: Just Wondering

What I hate is how inconsistent sentencing can be. Josh Brent, a football player for the Dallas Cowboys, was convicted of DUI manslaughter. He was sentenced to 180 days in jail and 10 years probation.

Posted: Sunday, February 2, 2014
Article comment by: gun guy

@ re gun guy ...
Ok since he wasn't at a bar does it make it ok to drink and drive and kill a 17 old boy ??people like you make me sick !!!!I

Posted: Friday, January 31, 2014
Article comment by: Amanda Johnson

Deliberately He did!!!!!, he had TOO many ( 1 is too many) drinks then he decided to get behind the wheel and drive! DELIBERATELY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted: Friday, January 31, 2014
Article comment by: RE: Gun Guy

Hey gun guy, where in this article did it say that anyone in the story was at a bar?

Posted: Friday, January 31, 2014
Article comment by: Elizabeth Rodriguez

Question - was his license revoked? Or do I need to be watching my rear-view mirror now! Wait, they just drive anyway, don't they?!?

Posted: Friday, January 31, 2014
Article comment by: gun guy

good I hope he gets life there is no excuse to drink and drive taxis are cheap if you can afford to go to a bar you can afford a taxi ride home end of story and all you people who say drinking and driving is the victim is crime tell that to the parents of the 17 year old boy this man killed

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