Teen Charged With Murder for Walking Away From Crash

February 2005

The Yuma County District Attorney, coming up on a three-year statute of limitations deadline, has charged a teen with attempted second degree murder, among other charges, for walking away from a crash that killed the driver.

Nolan Roth is accused of walking away from the crash scene, leaving the 15-year-old driver to die. He faces several charges including attempted second-degree murder, manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, trying to influence a public servant, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and conspiracy. Mallory Funaro, 15, was driving intoxicated when she crashed in a wheat field and was pinned under her pickup truck, which her passenger, Roth, had borrowed from someone else. She was abandoned under the truck from 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. She died of her injuries 17 days later.

The D.A. says Roth didn't report the accident and initially lied to investigators. His predecessor in office made a decision not to charge the teen , believing that he couldn't prove the death would not have occurred but for the two hour time period between when Roth walked away and when medical assistance arrived. The court and a jury will sort it all out. But I find the D.A.'s reasoning interesting, because it is so different than mine:

[D.A.] Watson said he knows it's an unpopular decision with some people. "I would much rather have the parent in my office mad at me because I've taken action against their child, versus the three I've had this week crying because they've lost their child," Watson said.

I would respond: The only thing worse than your child not coming home because she's been killed is your child not coming home because she's been accused of a murder she didn't commit. Prosecutors and defense attorneys. Does it all boil down to perspective?