More than nine months following the initial charges placed against her, Miami University junior Maureen Grady settled on a plea agreement Thursday morning at Butler County Area I Court.
Grady’s arrangement makes her the second to accept a plea agreement in the group of five Miami students who were charged in relation to furnishing former Miami student, Beth Speidel, with alcohol in April 2007. Speidel was hit and killed by a CSX train early in the morning April 14 and had a blood alcohol level nearly three times the legal limit.
Grady, instead of facing her initial charges for furnishing alcohol for Speidel while at Pachinko Bar uptown, agreed to instead accept charges of underage drinking-both are first-degree misdemeanors.
Officials at Butler County Court stated that within her agreement made before acting Judge Kevin McDonough, she would need to pay a $500 fine, plus court costs, and attend a two-day alcohol awareness course. She would also be placed on two years unsupervised probation.
As with any first-degree misdemeanor, this charge could be expunged from her record.
Grady initially was to have a court date Thursday afternoon, however her Columbus attorney and the Butler County prosecutor reached an agreement before actually going to trial.
Grady’s settlement follows student Danielle Davis’ agreement in October, where Davis agreed to donate $100 to a law enforcement trust fund, attend a two-day alcohol awareness program and perform 30 hours of community service.
Grady’s case was unique in that her statements gathered from the Oxford Police Department following Speidel’s death were to be used as evidence if the case went to trial-the statements of fellow students Kathleen Byrne and Kristina Sicker were both suppressed, stating the procedures violated their Miranda rights. The three were all allegedly questioned by Oxford Police Department Detective Shelly Sikora following Speidel’s death. In a decision issued by Judge Robert Lyons, “the incriminating statements made by Grady were not in response to questions asked by Detective Sikora.”
Junior Christine Carr, who was the fifth student charged with furnishing alcohol to Speidel, had an alibi for the evening of Speidel’s death, stating she was at a Relay for Life event.
Grady’s parents, Mary Ann and Mike Grady, issued a statement following their daughter accepting the plea, criticizing the actions of both the Butler County Prosecutor’s Office and the Oxford Police.
“This gut-wrenching decision, which we believe was unnecessary given the facts of the case and legal rights which were abused, were made to terminate the relentless and malicious zeal on the part of the Butler County Prosecutor’s Office and the Oxford City Police Department,” the statement reads.
” … Our daughter lost her close college friend, the Speidels lost a daughter and sister and we have watched as the prosecutor and police department ravage the system and emotionally assaulted our daughter. All of this because an over-zealous prosecutor coupled with a deceitful police department, decided that ‘someone had to be held responsible.'”
Oxford Police Department had little to comment regarding the statement issued by the Gradys, and Oxford Police Detective Sergeant John Buchholz said “what happens in the court is what happens in the court.”
“Hopefully (Grady) can move on, which is what we wish everybody who we write those tickets to, ” Buchholz said.
Yet the Gradys still contest that their daughter’s Miranda rights were abused and that the students were inappropriately targeted in this case.
“This thing took on a life of its own,” Mike Grady said Thursday afternoon.
But for now, according to Buchholz, this case is concluded.
“As far as we are concerned, it’s done,” he said.