Tulsa Man Convicted In Fatal Christmas Eve Crash To Return To Prison
OKLAHOMA CITY - A man who pleaded guilty to a 2009 Christmas Eve crash that killed a family of three, is headed back to prison.
The court of criminal appeals reversed a Tulsa judge's decision to vacate Steven Wade Jameson's manslaughter convictions and sentence.
Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler argued Jameson didn't have a right to appeal his conviction.
Kunzweiler said that right was waived when Jameson entered blind pleas in 2011, and the criminal appeals court agreed.
Jameson was serving a 24-year prison sentence after he pleaded guilty to a 2009 crash in Sand Springs that killed Angela, Michael and James Mulanax.
In January, Jameson's attorneys filed a petition for relief, citing incorrect sentencing guidelines and receiving bad legal advice at the time he entered the blind pleas.
Tulsa County Judge James Caputo sided with Jameson's attorneys and vacated his conviction and sentences. Jameson walked out of jail in January on bond.
Prosecutors appealed Caputo's ruling to the Oklahoma Criminal Court of Appeals, contending when Jameson entered his guilty plea, "he knew exactly what he was doing," and, "he knew exactly what rights he was giving up."
Kunzweiler said, "We felt confident back when we made our argument in open court, and we felt confident when we filed our brief to the court of criminal appeals that we were right on this issue. And, so, I'm glad we at least have another day to fight in court on this particular case."
The district attorney said he contacted one of the Mulanax family members after he heard news of the appeals court ruling.
"She's very happy. At least we're back to where we thought we should've been a long time ago, and ultimately want this case to come to a closure for that family. They deserve it. It's been such an up and down, long journey for them. And it's been, this last couple months, it's been a bad, anguishing roller coaster for them," Kunzweiler said.
We reached out to Jameson's attorney but have not heard back.
Jameson is out on bond, with an ankle monitor, and will have the right to make another appeal.