WAYNESBURG – Greene County Court Monday denied a motion from a Morgantown, W.Va., man seeking an arrest of judgment and acquittal following his conviction and sentence in the death of a Monongalia County sheriff’s deputy.
Jerod Green was found guilty in December 2012 by a Greene County jury in the death of Monongalia County Sheriff’s Deputy Sgt. Michael Todd May, 41. Green was sentenced to 25 to 50 years in prison in February 2013.
Greene County Judge William Nalitz sentenced Green, 37, originally from Oklahoma, to 18 to 36 years for third-degree murder; 5 to 10 years consecutively for homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence; and 2 to 4 years consecutively for fleeing or eluding a police officer while DUI and crossing a state line.
Additionally, Greene received a 5- to 10-year concurrent sentence for homicide by vehicle and 2- to 4-year concurrent sentences on other DUI-related charges.
The jury found May’s death was the direct result of his police vehicle being struck by Green’s Silverado pickup truck on Interstate 79 in Perry Township Feb. 18, 2012.
West Virginia sheriff’s deputies pursued Green after he fled from a traffic stop involving a hit-and-run accident that occurred earlier that same evening on Easton Hill Road in Monongalia County, W.Va., where Green’s truck struck a car driven by Skylar Johnson, 19, of Morgantown. When police pulled Green over, he denied hitting Johnson’s vehicle and then admitted he was there but it was not his fault. When an officer reached inside Green’s truck to turn off the ignition, Green hit the gas and pulled off with the officer’s arm inside the window. Police began a pursuit of Green’s truck as it traveled north on Route 100, onto Route 19 north into Pennsylvania and then entered the Interstate 79 on-ramp at Mt. Morris.
It was just south of the on-ramp that Green’s truck collided with May’s marked police vehicle, a Jeep Grand Cherokee. May died as a result of injuries sustained from the impact.
In his motion, Green argued the Commonwealth failed to show causation, meaning the fatal collision would not have occurred had May not ventured into the southbound lanes of Interstate 79; there was insufficient evidence of malice to support third-degree murder; and there was insufficient evidence of homicide by vehicle was driving under the influence.
Nalitz said that here, the risk that a police officer involved in the attempt to apprehend (the defendant) might be killed or seriously injured was inherent in the situation the defendant created.
In addressing the issue of malice, Nalitz wrote, “Whatever may have been the defendant’s motivations, his conduct from the time of his collision with Skylar Johnson until his fatal collision with Sergeant May displayed an escalating level of disregard for the personal safety of others, particularly police officers who were duty bound to control and apprehend drivers like the defendant. Malice may be inferred from all of the circumstances surrounding the conduct of the accused.”