Zahne back in court in tearful hearing

In an emotion-charged hearing on whether to reduce the bond of murder suspect Darrell Zahne, Mohave County Superior Court Judge Richard Weiss heard tearful testimony from family members of Zahne and Christina Burcham, the 16-year-old Kingman high school student killed Oct.

1.

Zahne, who did not speak, was back in court Friday accused for his role in a fatal accident that took the life of Burcham and severely injured her 18-year-old fiancé Robert Goodhue.

Goodhue, his leg in a brace and using a walker, also spoke at the hearing.

Zahne, 23, of Page, is charged with second degree murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after he allegedly crashed his 1990 pickup into a motorcycle carrying Burcham and Goodhue at the Bank Street and Northern Avenue intersection.

Burcham, a passenger on the motorcycle, was taken to Kingman Regional Medical Center where she died from head injuries later that night.

Burcham would have turned 17 the next day.

About 20 members of Zahne's Navajo family sat on one side of the small courtroom and about an equal number of Burcham's and Goodhue's family on the other side heard first Zahne's father, then his mother take the stand in his defense.

Zahne's mother, who could not speak English, had an interpreter translate her words.

Burcham's mother Jenny Allen, then read a statement, breaking down as she told of Christina making a timeline project for school just days before her death relating her future plans, then pleaded with Weiss not to reduce Zahne's bond.

"I beg the court that when Zahne got out of the truck he stepped over Christina to flee," Allen said tearfully.

"He has already demonstrated his flight risk.

I'll always have that image in my mind of this man stepping over my daughter to run."

Goodhue read his statement, tearfully telling that he and Burcham had just announced their engagement that night.

"If this man gets out of jail, he will have more freedom than what I have now," Goodhue said.

"I'm haunted by nightmares.

All because of one man's decision to climb behind the wheel."

With Goodhue looking on, his left leg in a brace and still showing visible scars from the accident, Flagstaff attorney John Trebon asked for a bond reduction for Zahne, calling Zahne's parents up on the stand for a tearful testimony of their son.

Trebon established that Zahne was a longtime Arizona resident, that he would be willing to be subjected to a house arrest at his father's home in Kingman and that he had a job waiting for him.

Chief Deputy County Attorney Jace Zack said that Zahne had been convicted of five prior misdemeanor offenses in the last five years, including alcohol abuse-related charges.

In the hushed courtroom, Weiss ordered a $265,000 bond, a slight reduction from Zahne's originally bond of $300,000.

It is alleged that Zahne was driving his pickup truck in excess of 60 mph around 8 p.m.

when it struck the motorcycle driven by Robert Goodhue.

Zahne's blood alcohol level was tested at .254 percent, more than twice the legal limit.

Zahne then fled the accident scene, getting a ride from a stranger to his Butler area home, records show.

Goodhue of Kingman was seriously injured and airlifted later that night to a Las Vegas hospital.

Goodhue, who almost lost his leg in the accident, said that he was satisfied with Weiss's decision.

"It's about the same," he shrugged.

If convicted for the second degree murder charge, Zahne could face up to 22 years in prison.

A guilty verdict for the aggravated assault charge could tack on another 15 years, Zack said.

Weiss set Jan.

19, 2001 as Zahne's next court date.