SOMERVILLE, N.J. (AP) — A former "Melrose Place" actress was driving drunk when her speeding SUV plowed into a turning car, killing a woman, but her lawyer has tried to convince a jury that others are to blame for the fatal crash and that what happened was an accident, not a crime.
Jury deliberations began Tuesday afternoon in state Superior Court in the aggravated manslaughter trial of Amy Locane-Bovenizer, 40, whose blood-alcohol level was nearly three times the legal limit when the crash occurred on a dark two-lane road in central New Jersey in 2010.
The defense agreed that Locane-Bovenizer was driving under the influence of alcohol. But her attorney sought to shift blame for the crash to a third motorist whose car she had rear-ended and who had been pursuing the actress — and also to the husband of the car accident victim for making what witnesses said was a slow, deliberate turn into his driveway.
Helene Seeman was killed in the crash, and her husband, Fred Seeman, was seriously injured.
"Nobody relishes standing up here blaming a man who tragically lost his wife," the defense attorney, Ellen Torregrossa-OConnor, said in closing arguments Monday. "However, in this accident, Mr. Seeman was in some way at fault for the actual collision."
Locane-Bovenizer faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted of aggravated manslaughter and assault-by-auto charges. Separate motor vehicle counts related to her drunken driving are to be heard in a separate case. She did not testify during the trial.
To prove her guilty of aggravated manslaughter, the prosecution must not only show she caused Seeman's death, but also that she did so under circumstances showing extreme indifference to human life and by acting recklessly.
The actress appeared in 13 episodes of the TV series "Melrose Place" and in movies including "Cry-Baby," ''School Ties" and "Secretary."
Now a mother of two living in Hopewell Township and acting in community theater, she had begun drinking the night of the accident at a cast party, testimony showed. Witnesses said she also drank at a barbecue she later attended with her family before leaving on her own.