Repeat DUI Offender Charged with Murder in Fatal Motorcycle Accident

A Del City man is charged with second degree murder after an early morning traffic accident last week that left a motorcyclist dead.

According to reports, Robert Charles Norris III, 33, was under the influence of alcohol last Monday morning when he drove his pickup the wrong way on Interstate 35. 

Around 3:00 a.m., Highway Patrol troopers responding to calls about a truck driving the wrong way on the interstate, and a hit and run accident involving the same pickup, came across the scene of a head-on collision between a Chevy pickup and a motorcycle. They could see the body of the motorcyclist beneath Norris's truck. The motorcycle rider, a 43-year-old father of a 9-year-old boy with special needs, died at the scene.

Troopers say that Norris exhibited several indicators of impairment during a field sobriety test. They noted that he was driving with a suspended license, and that he has three prior DUI convictions: 2003, 2004, and 2013. He was reportedly arrested for DUI in 2012 as well, but that charge was dismissed, and he was convicted of marijuana possession and driving without a license.

Troopers arrested Norris on a complaint of driving under the influence and transported him to the Cleveland County Jail. After his arrest, he reportedly blew a 0.17 on a breathalyzer test, putting him at more than twice the legal limit for impairment.

He was released on $2,000 bond under the condition that he abstain from alcohol, drugs, and driving while out on bond.

Because of his prior DUI convictions, this DUI is charged as a felony. Subsequently, the resulting death is charged as second degree murder rather than first degree manslaughter.

Typically, a fatal DUI accident results in a charge of first degree manslaughter because the death occurs unintentionally in the commission of a misdemeanor.

However, a death that occurs unintentionally in the commission of a felony (other than those violent crimes which would warrant a first degree felony murder charge), is charged as second degree murder. While a first DUI is a misdemeanor, subsequent DUIs are felonies.

The penalty for conviction of murder in the second degree is 10 years to life in prison.

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