KALAMAZOO (WWJ/AP) – The Michigan Court of Appeals will not hear an appeal of second-degree murder charges against a driver who plowed into a group of bicyclists, killing five of them and injuring four more.
Chief Clerk Jerome Zimmer wrote July 28 that Charles Pickett Jr.’s leave to appeal was denied “for failure to persuade the Court of the need for immediate appellate review.”
Pickett is charged with five counts of murder, five counts of driving while intoxicated and four counts of reckless driving related to the June 2016 crash.
Police said the cyclists — part of a group that called themselves “The Chain Gang” — were five miles into a weekly 30-mile ride in rural Cooper Township, in June of 2016, when they were struck from behind by Pickett’s pickup truck.
A prosecutor said Pickett was on drugs at the time of the crash.
Killed were 53-year-old Debra Ann Bradley of Augusta; 42-year-old Melissa Ann Fevig-Hughes of Augusta; 73-year-old Fred Anton Nelson of Kalamazoo; 73-year-old Lorenz John Paulik of Kalamazoo and 56-year-old Suzanne Joan Sippel of Augusta. The four injured bicyclists, as identified by police, were Paul Gobble, Sheila Jeske, Jennifer Johnson and Paul Runnels
Defense attorney Alan Koenig argued in the April application that the prosecution’s evidence wasn’t enough to send Pickett to trial for second-degree murder.
Pickett’s trial is scheduled for Sept. 19. He remains held without bond.
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