Fatal Oklahoma DUI Brings Murder Charge for Man Accused of Buying Alcohol

Most DUI cases are relatively minor, but Oklahoma City DUI lawyers often see the ripple effect a serious alcohol-related traffic violation can have.  Social host laws, which are in effect in hundreds of cities across Oklahoma, hold accountable those who serve alcohol to minors on their premises and those who recklessly continue to serve alcohol to obviously intoxicated patrons.  Last week, a new twist was added to the liability of those who provide alcohol to minors when a man was charged with murder after allegedly buying alcohol for teenagers who were later involved in a fatal DUI accident. John Halford, Jr., 25, of McCloud, was charged not only with purchasing alcohol for a person younger than 21, but also with second degree murder.  Halford is accused of buying alcohol for cousins Wyatt Dunn, 17, and Tory Allen Dunn, 20, in January of 2010.  The elder Dunn was deemed to be intoxicated when he later crashed his vehicle.  His teenage cousin died in the accident. Halford and his attorney deny that Halford bought alcohol for the teenagers.  Halford claims he did buy vodka that night, but the minors took it from his truck. Tory Dunn was convicted of second degree manslaughter and sentenced to six years in prison followed by lengthy supervision by the Oklahoma Department of Corrections.  Tory Dunn's Oklahoma criminal defense attorney claims that the charge and conviction were excessive, saying that factors other than alcohol played a role in the fatal accident, including a narrow, icy road and his attempt to swerve out of the way of an oncoming vehicle.  According to his lawyer, “We've always thought it was an excessive sentence for a young man who made a terrible mistake.  He chose to take the punishment out of grief for his cousin and concern a jury could give him more." Cries of inflated charges are echoed by Halford's Oklahoma defense lawyer.  He said to reporters, “The person who is actually responsible gets manslaughter and Mr. Halford is charged with a heavier offense.  How is that right?  They're trying to make an example out of someone, and unfortunately Mr. Halford is caught in the cross hairs.” The prosecution's own words seem to prove that point.  According to District Attorney Richard Smothermon, the case is the first such that he has seen, and he feels it could set a trend in Oklahoma.