PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A mixed verdict was handed down on Saturday for the man accused in an accident that left a woman who was out jogging with her children in Mount Lebanon dead.
It took the jury less than four hours to find Benjamin Cope, of Mount Lebanon, guilty of involuntary manslaughter and two counts of recklessly endangering another person.
“We’re pleased. We thought that the verdict was a fair reflection of the evidence that was presented in court,” said Bruce Beemer, the defense attorney. “The jury did a tremendous job of sifting through a lot of complex testimony.”
Cope, 21, was on trial for homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence in the June 2010 death of Lisa Styles. The prosecution claims Cope was high on marijuana when he ran through a stop sign, striking Styles and killing her as she pushed a stroller with her two young children.
The jury found him not guilty of homicide by vehicle while DUI and another charge of homicide by vehicle.
“I felt that the jury reached a conclusion that was consistent with the facts, which was that this was a tragic accident that happened at the intersection, but that marijuana did not play a role,” said Beemer.
“We’re grateful to the jury for giving the case the attention it deserved and for returning a proper verdict according to the evidence as they found it,” Assistant District Attorney Robert Schupansk said.
The judge did find Cope guilty of a separate charge of driving under the influence of a controlled substance because marijuana was found in his bloodstream.
He was also found guilty of three summary offenses for running through a stop sign, failing to yield to a pedestrian and reckless driving.
Styles’ mother gave police and the DA a vote of support.
“I would like to thank the District Attorney and Mount Lebanon Police,” she said. “They did a super job.”
With all the charges combined, Cope faces a maximum of nine and a half years in prison. The judge did not revoke his bond. He’ll be back in court on Dec. 16 for sentencing.