Defendant in DSU vehicular assault case denied appeal on re-indictment

Gregory E. Ligon Jr.

Gregory E. Ligon Jr.

DOVER — A Maryland man’s attempt to dismiss an amended indictment in connection with a motor vehicle crash that injured seven bystanders during a 2015 gathering at Delaware State University was rejected last Friday in Kent County Superior Court.

Gregory E. Ligon Jr., of Mitchellville, argued that a reduced burden of proof on vehicular assault charges hampered his defense after preparing for original criminal negligence accusations.

A a previously scheduled trial was continued to an undetermined time, the five-page opinion stated.

“Ligon will be given the opportunity to prepare a defense based upon negligence and physical injury as opposed to criminal negligence and serious physical injury,” Resident Judge William L. Witham Jr. maintained.

Mr. Ligon, a 28-year-old former DSU football player at the time of the alleged incident, was near a postgame gathering in a fraternity picnic when his vehicle went out of control and into a crowd, according to police.

Charges include one count each of DUI of alcohol and first-degree vehicular assault and six counts of second-degree vehicular assault.

Judge Witham noted that while statutory elements in the first indictment were misstated, “Counsel for Ligon was aware that the State was charging Ligon with DUI, should have been aware of the statutory provisions in (Delaware Code) and thus should have been prepared for a possible re-indictment based on the alcohol factor.”

In his motion, Mr. Ligon claimed the re-indictment required he now retain an expert witness to inspect his automobile, hindering his defense.

Noting a delayed trial date, however, Judge Witham determined “… [a]ny prejudice suffered by Ligon is wholly mitigated.”

Also, Judge Witham wrote, “The State has proved to a Grand Jury that the charges against Ligon in the re-indictment are justified, and the State is now allowed to proceed to the next step in the prosecutorial process.”

While the changes in the new indictment were “substantive,” Judge Witham said they were not amended by the Court and a Grand Jury could bring the changes to the case through the process.

Attorneys Joseph Hurley and Kevin Tray represented Mr. Ligon in the motion, with Deputy Attorney General Zachary George responding for the State of Delaware.

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