KINGMAN - That Robert James Dodd was behind the wheel when he ran a stop sign and crashed into a car driven by Linda Chevalier, and killing her on April 22, 2014, is not in question.
What is in dispute is whether Dodd's action, which ended a lengthy police chase, rises to the level of second-degree murder or something less. Defense attorney Arthur Higgs III on Wednesday told jurors in his closing arguments that Dodd was "guilty of something, but it isn't murder."
Higgs said in order to be guilty of second-degree murder, his behavior would have to show an "extreme indifference to human life." He told jurors that prosecutor Jacob Cote failed to prove Dodd's state of the mind reached that level, but he did agree the defendant, 43, could be found guilty of recklessness and therefore convicted of manslaughter, or even guilty of criminal negligence, which would allow for a conviction of negligent homicide.
Cote said the totality of Dodd's actions that day - driving at high speed into oncoming traffic, cutting through a crowded parking lot at 25 mph, aiming his vehicle at other cars and refusing to stop for pursuing officers - all showed "manifest indifference to human life."