Jury reaches verdict for Jacob Heil

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56/WKYT) – After hours of deliberations Thursday, a Fayette County jury found Jacob Heil guilty of DUI and not guilty of reckless homicide in connection to the 2018 death of 4-year-old Marco Shemwell.

Defense attorneys and prosecutors seem to agree on one thing: Jacob Heil was under the influence while driving. But, did alcohol cause the crash that killed 4-year-old Marco Shemwell? That’s the big question jurors will have to answer.

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Defense attorneys say alcohol did not cause the collision. They believe it was an accident. They say Marco stepped into the road. They noted the reconstruction officer said the little boy was in the line of travel at the time of impact. The defense brought up the fact that Marco’s dad, Ben Shemwell, said he and his sons were standing a few feet from the road but Crystal Johnson, one of the key witnesses, said they were standing where the grass meets the road.

The defense mentioned that several key witnesses stated that Heil did not seem impaired. They showed the report from Heil’s field sobriety tests, noting that the officer did not circle various signs of being drunk.

Prosecutors are saying the crash was not an accident and that Marco did not step into the road. They said Heil chose to drink before getting behind the wheel. They explained the alcohol impaired Heil’s judgment.

The jury must decide on whether or not Jacob heil is guilty of DUI and reckless homicide. The jury will spend the rest of the afternoon deliberating.


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The trial of former UK student Jacob Heil is expected to come to a close Thursday.

This week, we’ve heard testimony on the crash that killed 4-year-old Marco Shemwell.

Prosecutors say Heil was driving drunk, but his defense attorneys say Shemwell walked into the road.

Wednesday, jurors visited the scene of the crash. They also heard from a witness who says she saw the boy’s father try to pull him out of the way.

After closing arguments, the jury will begin deliberations.

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