Brown murder trial gets under way

Jury selection continued Tuesday in the first-degree murder trial of Engre Brown, charged in the death of Benjamin Merscher of Sequim in Clallam County Superior Court, Port Angeles.

  • Wednesday, March 19, 2014 2:24pm
  • News

Jury selection continued Tuesday in the first-degree murder trial of Engre Brown, charged in the death of Benjamin Merscher of Sequim in Clallam County Superior Court, Port Angeles.

Clallam County Prosecutor Deborah Kelly said Judge Ken Williams would impanel jurors by today and that she could make her opening statement in the trial that could last two weeks.

On Monday, Kelly and defense attorney Thomas Weaver debated whether Merscher’s blood alcohol level could be introduced as evidence.

Weaver alleged Merscher’s blood alcohol measured 0.05, but Williams ruled that the issue would be decided outside the presence of the jury after it is selected.

It was Brown’s reported blood alcohol level of 0.18 – more than twice the legal limit of 0.08 and over the 0.15 level for extreme drunken driving – that led Kelly to file the count of first-degree murder by extreme indifference charge on top of vehicular homicide charge Brown first faced.

Brown is accused of crossing the center line of traffic on U.S. Highway 101 at about 1 a.m. Oct. 8 near Kitchen-Dick Road and colliding head-on with Benjamin Merscher’s vehicle, killing him.

Washington State Patrol troopers also said Brown had been driving that night without insurance and without a valid driver’s license, something she reportedly has a record of doing in Clallam County the past eight to nine years.

More than two-dozen spectators filled the courtroom, some wearing "Friends of Ben" lapel buttons. Williams banned the buttons, emphasizing, "Spectators are to be spectators."

Brown, who was seriously injured in the wreck, walked into the courtroom using a cane, wearing a gray-

and-white striped jail

jumpsuit and wearing shackles.

As for Merscher’s blood alcohol level, Weaver argued that it should convince the jury to decide that Brown showed not extreme indifference but "ordinary indifference."

Kelly argued that Merscher "had no chance" to avoid Brown’s oncoming car and that it was she who was on trial, had been ordered not to drive, was driving 85 miles per hour and crossed the center line.

The prosecutor also said that Brown had "stormed off" after a fight with her boyfriend who took one set of her car keys, so Merscher’s blood alcohol level makes no difference.

Kelly said Brown’s conduct proved her mental state on Oct. 7.

More in News

Two die of COVID-19; Clallam cases surge

Fifty-eight new COVID-19 cases were confirmed on the North Olympic Peninsula on… Continue reading

Peninsula COVID vaccinations rise

More than 70 percent of North Olympic Peninsula residents 12 and older… Continue reading

Courts postpone jury trials

Clallam County Superior and District courts are continuing the suspension of jury… Continue reading

Two more COVID deaths reported

Two new deaths from COVID-19 were reported in Clallam County on Tuesday,… Continue reading

Election 2021: Anderson, Ness vie for City Council Position 4 seat

Editor’s note: this continues a series of interviews with candidates up for… Continue reading

Saturday protest backs health measures, candidates

A rally on Sept. 18 saw citizens show support for public health… Continue reading

Organizers setting plans for Orca Recovery Day

Organizers of the annual Orca Recovery Day have volunteer opportunities and workshops… Continue reading

Sequim Police Blotter
Police Blotter — Sept. 22, 2021

The weekly police blotter includes incidents that occurred in the City of… Continue reading

Along with remodel/expansion, River Center gets a new name

The community’s well-used building at Railroad Bridge Park isn’t the only thing… Continue reading

Most Read