Last week’s trial for Billy Abraham on his accident and subsequent conviction on driving under the influence demonstrates how community perception is misguided by the failure of the El Paso Times to adequately and professional inform the community.
On July 27, 2012, the El Paso Times ran “Billy Abraham not guilty of intoxicated manslaughter; guilty DWI” by reporter Aaron Bracamontes. As is usual, the El Paso Times showcased their “coverage” of the trial having Bracamontes tweet the trial live. Although the headline and the article are generally accurate, the El Paso Times still manages to misinform the community.
As is usual with the El Paso Times, when they manage to get the story somewhat correct, they still manage to leave out important details. In this case it is that Billy Abraham’s trial, last week, was to address charges of intoxicated manslaughter. As most of you already know, Billy Abraham was accused of driving under the influence, to which thecourt found him guilty of. He was also accused of manslaughter for the death Jay Grady in July 2010.
The record shows, and Abraham’s attorney agrees, that Billy Abraham hit and killed Grady and then drove off without stopping. He was found not guilty on the manslaughter charge. On the charge of driving under the influence, Billy Abraham was sentenced to 180 days in jail plus a $2,000 fine.
Immediately after the verdict, the community, via the Internet began to opine that Abraham got away with murder. Unfortunately the community’s outcry is based on incomplete information perpetuated by the lack of specificity from Bracamontes and the El Paso Times.
There were two charges filed against Billy Abraham as a result of killing Grady. The first charge was tried last week. The judge accepted Abraham’s guilty plea on driving while intoxicated and the jury found him not guilty on the manslaughter charge. But there is another charge pending against Billy Abraham that is yet to be adjudicated. This charge is a third-degree felony and it involves him not stopping to render aid. As we all know, Abraham kept driving after killing Grady.
Although Bracamontes writes; “He still faces a charge accident involving injury or death. No date has been set for that trial”, it is clear that Bracamontes does not understand that the charge is for failure to render aid, the very issue that the community is writing about on the Internet.
On the other hand, and kudos to KVIA’s, Mathew Smith, for getting it right in his report on July 26. In fact, he reported that “there is a second charge that is pending, failure to stop and render aid.”
The community’s justifiable anger is based on the lack of information and specificity provided by the El Paso Times. The paper has created a misconception that trickles across the El Paso consciousness and leads to erroneous conclusions about the justice system. Unfortunately this is not the first of many misconceptions the El Paso times creates.
The important question is, how much more community discussion is based on erroneous information perpetuated by the lackluster and incompetent information produced by the city’s local paper? I guess “it’s an El Paso thing” to be incompetent.