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Arraignment delayed for Oklahoma man charged in boating accident

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arraignment has been delayed for a University of Arkansas student charged with two counts of manslaughter over a boating accident in northeast Oklahoma.

BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Modified: November 14, 2013 at 11:21 am •  Published: November 14, 2013
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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arraignment has been delayed until December for a University of Arkansas student charged with two counts of manslaughter in connection with a boating accident in northeast Oklahoma.

John Stuart Deselms, 22, of Tulsa, Okla., was due in court this week in Delaware County but a delay was granted at the request of his attorney. Deselms was charged with first-degree manslaughter in the May 14 deaths of William Lewis "Trey" Varner III of Texarkana and Rachel Nichole Swetnam of Grove, Okla.

Prosecutors allege Deselms was operating a boat under the influence of alcohol when it crashed into a houseboat parked on Oklahoma's Grand Lake. According to an affidavit filed by Grand River Dam Authority police, Deselms' blood-alcohol level was 0.18 after the accident, more than double the legal limit.

The affidavit said Deselms admitted consuming 10 beers and a shot of tequila between 11:30 a.m. and the time of the accident, 5:42 p.m. The accident occurred in the Duck Creek arm of Grand Lake, about 20 miles from the Arkansas state line.

A local newspaper reported Thursday that Deselms' arraignment is set for Dec. 13. He has not yet entered a plea in the case, but issued a statement in September regarding the crash.

"The effect of this accident on Trey and Rachel's families and friends continues to be devastating to say the least," Deselms said in the statement. "I love them and miss them both dearly, and not a day goes by that I don't think about them."

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