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Published: Saturday, 5/10/2008

Wood Co. judge mulls retrying man

BOWLING GREEN - Wood County Common Pleas Judge Alan Mayberry heard brief arguments yesterday over whether a Rossford man should be retried on charges stemming from a hit-and-run accident in which a bicyclist was killed and another injured.

In February, Ohio's 6th District Court of Appeals threw out David O'Neill's convictions for drunken driving, aggravated vehicular homicide, and aggravated vehicular assault because the prosecution had not proven his blood-alcohol test was properly administered.

O'Neill, 63, is serving a four-year sentence for failure to stop after an accident stemming from the Jan. 15, 2006, crash on State Rt. 65 just north of Five Point Road in which Dr. Stephen Snedden, 47, of Perrysburg was killed, and George Haig, 48, was injured.

O'Neill's attorney, Adrian Cimerman, argued that the appeals court did not remand the three charges to the common pleas court, but "clearly reversed the convictions and dismissed them."

"Once a case is dismissed, you can't undismiss it," Mr. Cimerman told the court.

Citing other court cases, Gwen Howe-Gebers, an assistant Wood County prosecutor, contended the common pleas court had jurisdiction in the matter and said the case should start over at the point of indictment.

Judge Mayberry said he would take the matter under advisement and issue his decision at a later date.

Family members of Dr. Snedden were in the courtroom but declined to comment afterward.

Michelle Prephan, O'Neill's sister-in-law, said she attended the hearing to lend support to her sister's husband. Her sister has been working in Iraq for the past several years as an interpreter for the U.S. Army.

"My heart goes out to the family of the deceased. I pray for them," Mrs. Prephan said. "My sister's heart goes out to them, but you can't change what happened."

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