Jury Reaches Mixed Verdict In Fatal Mt. Lebanon Accident Trial

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – After a week of testimony followed up by closing arguments this morning, the jury has reached a mixed verdict in the case of a woman who was killed while out running with her children in Mount Lebanon last year.

Benjamin Cope, 21, was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter along with two counts of recklessly endangering another person, but not guilty of homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence. He was also found not guilty of being in possession of a controlled substance.

Cope is accused of hitting 36-year-old Lisa Styles who was jogging with her children in a stroller on Washington Road in Mt. Lebanon last summer.

Closing arguments began Saturday morning and the jury received the case around noon. The verdict came down after 4 p.m.

Earlier this week, a professor of pharmaceutical science testified that Cope had marijuana in his bloodstream at the time of the accident. However, the levels were not high enough for him to be impaired.

Cope could face a maximum of nine and a half years in prison. Also, Cope’s bond was not revoked.

His sentencing has been scheduled for Dec. 16.

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  • Misleading headline

    What is the verdict the headline said JURY REACHES VERDICT. Well!!!!!!!!!

    • Max

      They haven’t released the verdict to the public yet. They are just letting the public know that the jury is finished deliberating.

  • Curious

    They never mentioned if she was using earbuds or headphones at the time.

    • Max

      Yes they did, the jogger that passed by her right before the accident noticed that she was not wearing any headphones.

  • Not justice for those 3 babies

    What a travesty!!

  • Reality is Less exciting....

    Are you people for real?? First of all, it says clearly that he was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter with two counts of recklessly endangering another person. Second, it clearly says that this can carry a sentence of up to 9 years in jail. I’m not so sure about where the planet you are on, Money Talks, but I think spending even a few years in jail IS a punishment and he will ultimately will have to live with this as he gets older and becomes more mature in his understanding. This was an ACCIDENT. Period. The kid was an irresponsible young driver, like many others that are out there every day. He did not strike her on purpose or with malice. As someone who drives for a living, I can tell you that both pedestrians and many drivers are irresponsible and accidents like this happen every day. This is a sad outcome for all involved. His mother or where she works has nothing to do with this. We as a society need to be tougher about driving safely (if he truly had multiple traffic violations that he should indeed have had his license suspended) and we also need to begin enforcing laws when pedestrians are unsafe as well. People need to make eye contact with the driver of ANY oncoming car before crossing and you have to be sure the car is going to stop before getting into an intersection. Take a ride down any busy street and you will see people crossing against the light and against the don’t walk sign.

    • amazed

      OMG….you said almost the same thing I did.

    • Comprehension is more exciting

      Oh, and repeating driving infractions (breaking the law) on numerous counts is not an accident. We like to call that gross negligence. You know the kind that results in what you call an “accident” that we call “preventable”. People like you are beyond dumb, but keep posting to help prove the point. And yes, no doubt…several years in jail “pays off” killing someone. I pray for your sake you’re not on the short end of this one some day.

    • Comprehension is more exciting

      Well “Reality”, there’s a thing called time stamps and editing. If you open your eyes you’ll see that the comments that you’re complaining about were made before the timestamp of the article changed. In big boy terms that means that they were replying to an article that is not the same as the one you see now. In short bus terms it means that KDKA changed the story. Please, if you’re going to reply try to keep up. else you look like the idiot that you are.

    • karen

      well said very sad but you are right every one wants to be the judge without the qualifications

    • rob

      Well put reality, Comprehension is more exciting sounds like a complete moron, who never has been out in the world world, what a loser.

  • amazed

    First of all, making accusations about his mother getting him off due to where she works is crazy. As for him having multiple traffic violations, those have nothing to do with this particular incident. I don’t remember him being charged driving with a suspended license. AND FOR THE RECORD I AM NOT TAKING SIDES WITH ANYONE, SIMPLY COMMENTING. I am sad for the family to have lost their wife, mother, daughter. It was a tragic ACCIDENT. That was apparent in the verdict the jury handed down. What makes me wonder is the amount of IMPORTANCE the prosecution and the media put on Mr Cope being under the influence of marijuana. It was in his system and he was deemed NOT impaired. When is our society going to get it that alcohol is a much bigger problem when people drive. There are thousands of people driving with MULTIPLE traffic violations most having to do with driving drunk. But we waste so much money and time trying to prosecute and persecute marijuana users. That money and time would be much better spent to make alcohol every bit as illegal.

  • Really

    He in fact had seven prior citations, but still had someone who allowed him to have access to a car and car insurance. When is it OK to punish him? After he has killed two people. I guess since Lisa wasn’t someone you knew you can see it this way, but having known Lisa and the idea that he could get another slap on the wrist I agree is a travesty. He could serve some jail time, but there is NO guarantee. I couldn’t care less if he was high at the time of the incident. The fact of the matter is, he didn’t stop at the stop sign and he didn’t even look to the right. Don’t you dare blame the victim!!! She had the right of way! The passenger in his car saw her and screamed for him to stop and he still didn’t. She wasn’t crossing against any don’t walk sign and she had checked to see that no cars from Washington were turning onto Beadling.

  • Really

    Rock on!!

  • Darren

    What good is putting him in jail anyway? If his horrendous driving skills make him a risk to the public, then revoke his driver’s license. If the goal is to get this kid off the road, why put him in jail for 9 years at $30,000 a year and cost taxpayers $270,000 when the same outcome can be achieved for probably a $50 administrative fee.

    The jury found that he wasn’t intoxicated and he didn’t do this with malice. As long as he’s not operating a vehicle, it doesn’t appear that he’s going to hurt anyone.

    • Really

      There’s no point in revoking his drivers license. One of his prior citations was for driving without a license. He will drive anyway!!!

  • seriously

    OMG he had 7 prior citations. It’s time he grows up and takes responsibility for his life and stops getting off with basically warnings. This has nothing to do with Jordon Brown!

  • Vladimir


  • http://www.city-data.com/forum/pittsburgh/1387488-jury-reaches-mixed-verdict-fatal-mt.html#post21019040 Jury reaches mixed verdict in fatal Mt. Lebanon Accident Trial - City-Data Forum

    […] […]

  • Money Talks

    Growapair, you are so right!
    Fancy attorneys with fancy rugs—

  • Kayla

    You people who wish to condemn this kid have no clue what you are talking about. If you know the area, then you will know that upon approaching the stop sign, you come around a sharp bend where you can’t see what’s beyond the bend until you are up on the stop sign. He looked left instead of right as well and proceeded into the roadway, just like most motorists do today, probably even those of you who feel you are judge and jury. The woman was training for a marathon, jogging with her kids in a stroller that accommodates this type of activity. It is a known fact that joggers in Mt. Lebanon feel they have the right of way all of the time. Whether she jumped the curb or not, the end results are tragic. When I walk my kids, I alway stop at EVERY intersection regardless of who has the right of way. This kid did not have malicious intent, and he was not under the influence like they wanted you to believe. He is a young driver, and with that comes responsibility. Often times, it is the young drivers who receive the citations because they are just learning the rules of the road. To boot, Mt. Lebanon cites you for anything. The only thing this kid is guilty of is using poor judgment, which he will have to live with for the rest of his life. Jail time or not, it will never compare to what he is going to face each day knowing he took someone’s life.

    • You are seriously in denial

      He had seven prior citations. I’m sure he wasn’t out to hit a jogger on that morning, but it’s about time this kid grows up and takes responsibility for his actions. He’s gotten off every time before with a simple slap on the writs. He also hit her, drove over her, put his car in reverse, and then backed over her. The fact of the matter is, he didn’t stop at the stop sign and he didn’t even look to the right. Contrary to your opinion, most motorists do not do this!!! Don’t you dare blame the victim!!! She had the right of way! The passenger in his car saw her and screamed for him to stop and he still didn’t. She wasn’t crossing against any don’t walk sign and she had checked to see that no cars from Washington were turning onto Beadling. You sure seem that you are judging the rest of us and clearly don’t know a whole lot about this case or the fact that Lisa would never feel that she had the right of way all the time regardless of whether it was her’s or not. Ben did not pass a field sobriety test. Just because he wasn’t found guilty of being under the influence by the jury doesn’t mean that he wasn’t. It could also mean that the prosecution didn’t prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. What he has to live with will NEVER compare to what Lisa’s family has to face every day. Clearly, you are the one who has no idea what you are talking about!

      • You are seriously in denial

        typo: wrist

      • Jill

        AMEN!!!! Very well stated. Kayla should be ashamed!!

    • Calling out a hypocrite

      It is a known fact that joggers in Mt. Lebanon feel they have the right of way all of the time.

      Well, if it’s a known fact, please provide the link to your fact. But if we’re going to claim fact without proof, then I’ll offer that it’s a known fact that marathon runners call themselves runners, not joggers. So if you’re going to throw out a fake “fact”, please be consistent with what runners refer to themselves as. I’m glad you stop at EVERY . You’ve proven that you’re so much better than ‘those’ marathon people. Kudos to you. Oh, be careful stepping off of your hight stool. Before calling others “judgers” you might want to look in the mirror,

  • Money Talks

    Sorry Kayla, but “young drivers” should KNOW the rules BEFORE they get on the road. Driving isn’t lets learn as we go. Why take a driving test? I hate to be an old fart, but I am. I got my license 40 years ago at the age of 16. You better darn well believe that driving isn’t learning the rules of the road as you go along! Your claim that Mt. Lebanon cites you for everything may be true, but Mr. Ben was cited out of the jurisdiction of Mt. Lebanon. So what doesw that tell you? Finally, your blaiming the victim is in very poor taste. Once again, Mr. Ben needs to take responsiblity.

    • sickening

      No kidding, people who blame the victim in a case like this make me sick.

      • Money Talks

        Sad, isn’t it? Makes me angry.

  • http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2011/09/24/man-accused-in-fatal-mt-lebanon-accident-to-be-sentenced-in-december/ Man Accused In Fatal Mt. Lebanon Accident To Be Sentenced In December After Jury Reaches Mixed Verdict « CBS Pittsburgh

    […] LINKS: Allegheny County Courts Jury Reaches Mixed Verdict In Fatal Mt. Lebanon Accident Trial Stories related to this case Share this No comments // Listen Live! // // // […]

  • Money Talks

    By the way Kayla–it’s left, right. left.proceed

    • Kayla

      You’re wrong Money Talks, he proceeded RIGHT not left. He looked left and NOT right and proceeded right, just like I said, and just like A LOT of drivers on a daily basis. You can say what you want, but this was an unfortunate accident, and that’s all it was. So he may not be the best driver in the world – there are a lot of them on the roadway – just because he has citations isn’t reason to put him in jail. But, typical of looking at the situation with emotion instead of the facts. And if MONEY TALKS, then how come Baumhammers didn’t get off when he went around intentionally targeting minorities and killing them? I mean, he’s from Mt. Lebanon as well…… And BTW – no one is blaming the victim – that was never said, so don’t embellish.

      • Rob

        I agree Kayla, the jury got this right

  • Dave

    It’s only human nature to want to make someone ‘pay for the loss of life.’ But does this kid deserve to go to jail – absolutely not. Does he deserve to have his license revoked – absolutely. He made a poor decision by not stopping at a stop sign, and even though he was going at a very low rate of speed, it still resulted in a fatality, which is an unfoturnate accident. This kid is not a drug dealer, he is not a thug going around shooting people over some stupid situation. He is a young man who goes to college and who has a very poor driving record. Does he deserve to spend time in jail with hardened criminal? I don’t think so. He made a poor choice that he will live with for life – that is punishment enough.

    • Mike

      This young man negligently caused the death of another human being. That is the definition of involuntary manslaughter in Pennsylvania. 18 Pa. C.S. § 2504. He committed what is referred to as a “misdemeanor of the first degree” and deserves whatever sentences is appropriate for that grade of crime and his previous criminal history.

      While this was indeed an “accident,” this young man killed someone because of his negligence. This deserves something far more than simply revoking his license.

    • Dan

      If he has a history of this, then his consequences should indeed be jail time. Obviously the punishment he’s received to date have not caused him to learn from his mistakes. His continual breaking the law has now resulted in a death, a preventable one at that. Jail time is needed.

    • Just plain wrong

      He’s driven before without a license so taking away his license isn’t going to do a darn thing. He was not going at a low rate of speed btw. Prior to coming upon the stop sign he was speeding. He only slowed down as he neared the stop sign and driving around 10 miles an hour when you are supposed to be at a dead stop is no where close to a low rate of speed in comparison to the speed he should have been going. Poor decision??? He hit her, drove over her, put his car in reverse, and then drove over her again. This was completely preventable had his parents punished him any of the prior times he was cited in the past, but they just decided to look the other way. They are just as much to blame as he is. They should be ashamed of themselves!!!

  • Rob

    Jordan Brown is an 11 year old kid, get over it,

  • growapair

    The jury got it right?? An admitted pot head, that failed a field sobriety test, where cops smelled pot on him, found drug paraphenalia in the car, and had it in his bloodstream was not impaired when he hit and killed a person with a bright yellow stroller in broad daylight in the morning in a cross walk????

  • Free Candy

    Troololololol, I love it when i read people arguing in the comments. Seriously, what happened happened. He should of been paying attention and not speeding up to that intersection like that. But it happened. Time to implement more stricter traffic laws! wOOOOOOT!

    • growapair

      It happened because he was a bad driver AND he was dui.

      • Rob

        he wasn’t DUI

      • growapair

        He failed a field sobriety test, the cops smelled pot, they found drug paraphenalia in the car, it was in his bloodstream. If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck . . .

  • mj

    This kid has had 7 other traffic violations, why was he driving? If it would of beenus we wouldn’t be allowed to drive. When is he going to pay for all of it when he gets out and kills someone else. He knows that he did not stop at the stop sign and people jog there all the time. He lives there.

  • growapair

    The parent(s) are definitely to blame here as well. I hope there’s a civil case.

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