MAYVILLE, NY (WNY News Now) – The man accused of causing two separate fatal car crashes less than a year apart is headed to trial after rejecting a plea deal on Tuesday.
Randall Rolison faces multiple charges, for allegedly running a stop sign causing an accident that killed 71-year-old Linda Kraemer in the Town of Arkwright less than a year after allegedly hitting and killing 15-year-old Jamestown teen Alexis Hughan with his 18-wheeler.
In addition to the fatal crashes, Rolison is accused of owning three illegal handguns. The deal would have had Rolison plead guilty to both collisions and admit to being under the influence of drugs.
“We wanted him to receive the maximum on that, and those two sentences would run consecutive to one another,“ explained Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt. “In exchange for those pleas we were then going to roll in the gun case, so that he wouldn’t have any exposure to that.”
Rolison’s attorney says that while he cannot disclose his recommendation to his client, he made his own decision.
“It’s not up to us to determine whether or not that’s something that we’re willing to take,“ explained Public Defender Ned Barone. “That’s ultimately the decision of the client, and it is one of the most fundamental rights in our criminal justice system.”
What worries the Public Defender most about going to trial is the probable tainted jury.
“He’s supposed to be presumed innocent, it’s a constitutional right,“ explained Barone. “And every time the District Attorney takes this case, or splashes it on the front pages, or in the news. It takes away that presumption of innocence.”
Since Rolison did not take the plea, the District Attorney says no more deals are on the table.
“As a result we don’t want to play with this anymore,“ stated DA Schmidt. “We’re prepared to go forward. We withdrew the offer, and the first case on the calendar is the gun case scheduled for June twelfth.”
If Rolison had accepted the plea deal, he would have faced a sentence of between 13 and 25 years in prison. Now he will face three separate criminal trials this summer.
Rolison is currently being held at the Chautauqua County Jail without bail.