The attorney for a woman charged with vehicular manslaughter following a fatal collision near Timmerman Junction south of Bellevue last summer has asked for a bond reduction, that the charges be tried separately and that venue be changed for a jury trial. The collision killed Bellevue resident Georgina Ubence.
Attorney Selim Star, counsel for Kaytlyn Ann Graefe, 20, of Shoshone, filed the three motions Tuesday, and a hearing has been scheduled for May 28 to hear oral arguments on them.
Graefe has been in Blaine County jail since her arrest on Jan. 25. Her bond at that time was set at $75,000. In the motion to reduce bond, Star argued that it is unjust that a wealthy family would be able to pay the bond, but that a poorer family would not. He argued that if the bond were lowered, Graefe’s parents may be able to post it and Graefe could await trial outside of jail. As of today, Graefe has been in jail 119 days.
Graefe is charged with three misdemeanors: vehicular manslaughter, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. However, Star noted that the prosecution is arguing that the charge of vehicular manslaughter is due to inattentive driving, not being under the influence of a controlled substance. In his motion to separate the charges, he argued that the jury would not be able to keep the charges separate and would make the assumption that all three were connected to the fatality. He asked that the charge of vehicular manslaughter be tried separately from the drug charges to avoid the jury making assumptions that Graefe was under the influence when the accident occurred.
Lastly, Star asked that a change of venue be ordered in the case, due to the amount of publicity and public scrutiny that it has garnered since the accident occurred on Aug. 19. Star specifically pointed to the Blaine County Sheriff’s Office’s Facebook page, where the press release of Graefe’s arrest was posted.
“It appears that the announcement was among the most commented posts on the Blaine County Sheriff’s Facebook site and may have invoked a warning about the content of comments posted shortly thereafter, on February 5, 2019,” Star stated in his motion. The post got more than 51 comments and was shared 32 times.