BELTON — Former Killeen resident Eugene Kelly Wolfenberger was found guilty of intoxicated manslaughter with a deadly weapon in the 2010 death of William Allen Reed.
A jury convicted Wolfenberger, 50, after 45 minutes of deliberation Thursday. Its decision came after a four-day trial, which ended just shy of the three-year anniversary of Reed’s death.
Wolfenberger, an Army veteran, will be sentenced today for killing the 47-year-old Killeen man on Aug. 11, 2010. Wolfenberger was driving on Westcliff Road that night when he struck Reed’s motorcycle from behind with his Toyota Camry, killing him. Wolfenberger fled the scene and was arrested at his house later that night. A blood-alcohol test taken two hours after the crash showed Wolfenberger had a blood-alcohol level nearly four times the legal limit, according to witness testimony.
In his closing argument Thursday, Bell County prosecutor Fred Burns asked jurors to convict Wolfenberger of intoxicated manslaughter, and find that his car was used as a deadly weapon.
“Eugene Wolfenberger was drunk that night,” Burns said. “He caused (Reed’s) death, it was a criminal act. ... It’s the simplest explanation. It’s a true explanation.”
Wolfenberger’s defense team argued throughout the trial that Wolfenberger was not intoxicated at the time of crash, and claimed Wolfenberger suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, which caused him to flee the scene and “black out,” not remembering the accident or events after it.
“The evidence is that he drank after (the crash),” said defense attorney Mike White.
White said his client felt remorse and would be in a “living hell” from the guilt over killing Reed, but characterized the crash as an accident, not a criminal act.
“To find a man guilty, to take away his liberty, takes more than an accident,” White said. “It takes more than a tragedy.”
In his rebuttal, prosecutor Mike Waldman again insisted Wolfenberger was drunk during the crash, and said he fled the scene to avoid being held responsible.
“The evidence is overwhelming. The proof is overwhelming,” he said. “This was intoxicated manslaughter.”
The conviction carries a prison sentence of up to 20 years.
Contact Chris McGuinness at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7568. Follow him on Twitter at ChrismKDH.