A Sarpy County jury found a 51-year-old Omaha man guilty of misdemeanor motor vehicle homicide Thursday, three months after another jury deadlocked.
Jonathan Westbrook could receive up to one year in prison when he is sentenced by Judge Jeffrey Funke on Nov. 8. After the six-person jury entered its guilty verdict, Funke also found Westbrook guilty of disobeying a traffic light.
Ben Perlman, an assistant Sarpy County prosecutor, said he presented the same evidence to both juries. The first jury deliberated about six hours, and the second jury reached its decision in four hours.
Defense attorney C.G. Jolly said Perlman appeared to have done “a little better job” presenting his case to the second jury.
“It's difficult to tell what the difference was, because you never know about jury dynamics,” Jolly said. “Mr. Westbrook accepts the decision, and we'll move on.”
The case stemmed from the Sept. 10, 2011, crash of a motorcycle and semitrailer truck at Nebraska Highway 370 and Interstate 80 west of Papillion.
Nicole Locke, 35, who was a passenger on a 2008 Harley-Davidson motorcycle driven by her husband, died from her injuries a month after the accident. Her husband, Tony Locke, survived his injuries.
Perlman said Westbrook was driving a 1996 Kenworth semi that ran a red light on the I-80 east exit ramp onto Highway 370. Four “very credible” witnesses, he said, testified that the Lockes had a green light as they drove east on Highway 370 when the semi pulled in front of the motorcycle.
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