Appeals court sets bond for man convicted in 2016 crash that killed Haile Beasley

Crime

TYLER, Texas (KETK) – A Texas man was back in court on Thursday for a crash that killed 20-year-old Haile Beasley back in 2016.

Fulton appeared before the 241st District Judge, Jack Skeen in Tyler for a bond hearing.

His bond was set at $50,000, and Fulton’s attorneys said he plans to pay in cash.

Fulton, 44, was convicted back in 2017 of criminally negligent homicide for the crash that killed Beasley on Grande Blvd.

Their cars collided head-on, killing Beasley but leaving Fulton uninjured. At the crash site, police did not give Fulton a breathalyzer after he refused, but did administer several sobriety tests. He was allowed to leave the scene when it was determined he was not intoxicated.

It was found that Fulton did drink three to four beers earlier that evening. Fulton also said he briefly distracted by a deer on the side of the road and was slightly speeding.

Haile Beasley

At his trial, his lawyers argued that none of his actions crossed the threshold of being “grossly negligent.” The jury convicted him anyway and later sentenced Fulton to 10 years in prison.

Earlier this June, the 12th District Court of Appeals overturned the sentence, but left the conviction in place. Fulton argued three issues with his trial:

  • Insufficient evidence
  • Ineffective counsel
  • Juror bias

The appeals court sided with Fulton that he received ineffective counsel when his lawyers chose not to present evidence that would have contradicted the testimony of a local waitress.

She told investigators that Fulton had paid for drinks, a few weeks after Beasley’s death, with a credit card at the Cascades Country Club, however, there was no record of the transaction.

The court ordered that Fulton receive a new sentencing trial.

“For the reasons stated above, we overrule Appellant’s first and third issues, and sustain his second issue. Having sustained his second issue, we reverse the trial court’s judgment pertaining to punishment, and remand the case to the trial court for a new punishment trial,” the court wrote in their judgment.

12th District Court of Appeals

Beasley’s mother, Jennifer Wittmore spoke with KETK News after the bond hearing.

“He just gets to walk out and go back to his family, and he gets to travel to see his kids play baseball or football or whatever, and he gets to live life and I get to go to the cemetery and visit my child,” said Whittmore.

Whittmore stressed her worry that people think there has to be proof that Fulton was drunk to make him guilty. She says he was charged with criminally negligent homicide, not driving while intoxicated. She tells us she believes the proof of his guilt centers on his negligence that night while driving, which is what he was ultimately charged with.

“Nothing will bring her back, and nothing does, ever and I’m fully aware, but having the punishment fit what he did, does bring a lot of comfort,” said Whittmore.

She hopes to have that comfort back some day.

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