Suspect in ODOT worker death requests later trial date

BARTLESVILLE, Okla. - A Sperry man accused in the highway death of an Oklahoma Department of Transportation worker last fall and now facing a charge of first-degree manslaughter has waived his right to a speedy trial.

The defense attorney for 19-year-old Deven Wayne Franklin appearing in Washington County District Court Wednesday morning during Franklin's video appearance waived the right while requesting the judge to pass the trial to the next trial docket.

Kristi Sanders, Franklin's attorney, said she needed the time to have a expert from the Oklahoma Indigent Defense System appointed to the case and to allow the expert time to review blood analysis evidence.

The judge hearing the request did not pass the trial to the next date but set a Franklin for a hearing on Aug. 15 at which time the court expects to hear the status on the expert.

Franklin, also facing charges of possession of a controlled dangerous substance and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia, is accused of killing 42-year-old Ira Lee Henderson on Nov. 30, 2011, as Henderson was working on U.S. Highway 75 near Ramona.

According to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, at around 8:30 a.m. Franklin's southbound 2003 Pontiac Grand Am crossed the southbound lane divider line and struck Henderson who was working in a construction zone. He then struck another vehicle before coming to rest in the outside lanes of the highway.

Henderson died at the scene of the accident — his death due to "multiple blunt force injuries," according to the medical examiner's office which performed an autopsy the same day.

A test performed on a blood sample taken from Franklin within an hour of the accident showed traces of THC in his blood, indicating Franklin had been under the influence of marijuana, impairing his "ability to safely drive a motor vehicle," according to the probable cause affidavit.

The report said additionally the trooper at the scene found a wooden box between the driver's seat and center console bearing marijuana and, underneath the car, a smoking pipe.

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