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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A man who tried to stop his girlfriend from driving drunk ended up falling from her speeding vehicle to his death, but the woman’s lawyer says this is not a murder case.
In court Friday, Jessica Royall answered to charges of homicide and homicide by vehicle for the death of her boyfriend, Ryan Minett.
In March, Royall and Minett were in a domestic dispute that led to her leaving in her SUV. Minett tried to stop her by grabbing onto the luggage rack of the vehicle. Police say she was driving under the influence and drove through a Cranberry neighborhood for a half mile with Minett hanging on.
Witnesses told police Royall was speeding through the neighborhood, running through stop signs with Minett holding onto the luggage rack and screaming, “You’re going to kill me!”
A detective even testified that Minett never had a chance to jump off the vehicle without getting hurt.
Eventually, Minett fell off the vehicle, tumbling 45 feet, hitting a concrete barrier and a light post.
He died the next day at UPMC Presbyterian.
Royall’s attorney, William Difenderfer, believes this is not a homicide case.
“She had no intention of killing him,” he said. “The last thing this case is is a murder case. Being charged with homicide is troubling.”
Difenderfer believes a call she made to 911 will verify that she was in fear for her life, trying to get away.
“She only knew him for two months, but she certainly knew about his past and his past is definitely riddled with PFA, things like that,” he said. “Yeah, she was fearful.”
Still, investigators say Minett could have stopped but didn’t.
“Monday morning quarterbacking is very easy, and she only went a half mile,” Difenderfer said.