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Judge rejects bond for woman
Woman with a DUI history denied bond in manslaughter case

Date published: 10/3/2012

BY KEITH EPPS

A Stafford County woman charged in connection with a June 18 accident in which a woman who lived with her was killed was again denied bond Monday.

Judge J. Martin Bass rejected a bond request from Amy Michelle Owens in Stafford Circuit Court, saying Owens had proved herself to be a danger to the community. Owens' request for bond had previously been rejected in a lower court.

Owens, 34, already had three DUI convictions by June 18, when she was accused of driving a 1990 Mazda 626 that crashed in the area of the Stafford Wayside on U.S. 1 near Carnaby Street. Sharon Elizabeth Oxley, 44, who lived with Owens and Owens' husband, was a passenger in the vehicle and died in the crash.

According to state police, Owens was heading south when she drove off the right side of the road, overcorrected and ran off the left side of the road. The car hit a guardrail and flipped into the woods. Police said speed was a factor in the crash.

She was later charged with involuntary manslaughter, felony murder, driving on a revoked license and driving while intoxicated, her fourth offense in five years.

Defense attorney Ben Woodbridge argued Monday that it was unfair for Owens to be held without bond, noting that she was cooperative with police and has significant ties to the community.

Woodbridge said Owens has never missed a court appearance and said she has already been in jail too long for someone who is presumed innocent under the law.

Prosecutor Andrea McCauley said keeping Owens in jail is the only way to protect the public. She said that three relatively recent DUIs and having no license didn't stop Owens from driving in June.

"What more facts do you need?" McCauley said. "Nothing the court has told her before has stopped her."

A preliminary hearing for Owens is scheduled for Dec. 21 in Stafford General District Court. An earlier hearing was postponed because lab tests had not been completed.

Keith Epps: 540/374-5404
Email: kepps@freelancestar.com