Jeremy Carruthers

Jeremy Carruthers

An Abbeville man charged with running over and killing 15-year-old Cody Jenkins on July 27, 2016, could receive a lesser charge.

Jeremy Carruthers was arrested and charged with murder in 2016. A trial was scheduled to begin this week. However, prosecutors filed a motion asking the court to remand Carruthers’ case back to a Henry County grand jury, saying manslaughter is the appropriate charge for the crime for which Carruthers is accused.

The state plans to present the case to the grand jury during the month of September.

Troopers charged Carruthers with murder in July 2016. Troopers testified during the defendant’s bail hearing that Jenkins was fatally struck by a vehicle driven by Carruthers as he walked through his own yard, located on County Road 73 in Newville, a few miles north of Headland.

During Carruthers’ bail hearing, District Judge Derek Paterson called Carruthers a danger to the community, outlining several factors he considered several factors when issuing his three-page ruling, including the defendant’s prior felony conviction for shooting into an occupied dwelling, excessive speed at the time of the crash, and the admitted usage of synthetic marijuana by the defendant before the crash.

State Trooper Phillip Baker testified that the contributing factors that led to the murder charge included excess speed and synthetic marijuana usage at the time of the crash.

Baker said the evidence showed Carruthers was traveling 76 mph at 5 seconds out from impact, increased his speed to 77 mph at 4.5 seconds out, then to 78 mph at 4 seconds out, continued at 78 mph at 3.5 seconds out, increased to 80 mph at 2.5 seconds out, continued at 80 mph at 2 seconds out, dropped back to 78 mph at 1.5 seconds out, continued at 78 mph at 1 second and at .5 second from impact the brake was initiated.

Henry County Sheriff’s Investigator Sgt. Steve Sanders also testified at the bail hearing, which included how Carruthers admitted to using synthetic marijuana and passing out from its usage while driving a vehicle.

Sanders, who was one of the first officers on the scene, said a preliminary examination found the vehicle driven by Carruthers appeared to have left the roadway just above the victim’s residence then clipped a mailbox and a tree before striking several vehicles as well as the victim.

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Follow Michele Forehand on Twitter @micheleforehan1

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