- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 1, 2015

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) - Dubuque County and the state are at odds over who should pay expert witness fees for a trial that didn’t happen.

Joseph M. Connolly, 25, was charged with vehicular homicide by operating while intoxicated, among other counts, in the 2014 crash that killed four teenage boys, the Telegraph Herald (https://bit.ly/1N7yElU ) reported. He agreed to a plea deal shortly before a jury trial was scheduled to begin in July.

Iowa District Court Judge Todd Geer ordered that the Iowa Court Administrator’s Office be billed for more than $22,000 in expert fees from Dynamic Safety LLC in Illinois. Michael DiTallo, an expert crash reconstructionist with the company, was set to be a witness for the prosecution.

But the state filed a motion last week to reconsider that judge’s decision, contending that it shouldn’t have to foot the bill because the work by Dynamic Safety was investigatory. Geer set a Thursday hearing on that motion.

Dubuque County Attorney Ralph Potter said since the crash involved the deaths of four teenagers, prosecutors wanted to ensure a strong case and noted that the high expert fees for this case weren’t typical for his office.

“This is one of the highest ones we’ve ever had,” Potter said.

Potter said Monday that he hadn’t had a chance yet to review the state’s latest motion.

Connolly’s sentence hearing also is set for Thursday. Authorities say he was driving a pickup and trailer in rural Epworth and had run a stop sign, striking a utility vehicle with four 14-year-old boys on it. The teens, Bryce Wilwert, Mitchell Kluesner, Nicholas Kramer and Sean Kenneally, were killed in the crash.

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Information from: Telegraph Herald, https://www.thonline.com


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