NORTH HAVERHILL — A man who pleaded guilty to crashing his pickup into an SUV and killing a Vermont couple and their unborn child asked a judge Wednesday to suspend his sentences, which would pave the way for him to be released early on medical grounds.
Robert J. Dellinger, 60, made the request during a telephone hearing before Judge Lawrence A. MacLeod Jr. in Grafton County Superior Court.
MacLeod told Dellinger and the victims’ families that he would make a decision as soon as possible.
According to court documents, Dellinger, 60, a former Fortune 500 executive with a home in Sunapee, was driving his Chevrolet Silverado southbound on I-89 in Lebanon on Dec. 7, 2013, when he drove across the median and collided with a northbound vehicle driven by Amanda Murphy.
The impact killed Murphy, 24, and her unborn child, as well as her fiancé, Jason Timmons, 29. Murphy was eight months pregnant.
Prior to the trial, Dellinger’s attorneys said he was suffering “a delirium” caused by prescription drugs. The state alleged Dellinger was attempting to commit suicide.
Court documents say the state, in exchange for Dellinger entering a plea agreement on two counts of negligent homicide-DUI for the deaths of Murphy and Timmons and one count of second-degree assault in the unborn child’s death, did not to pursue charges of second-degree murder against Dellinger.
In April 2015, MacLeod ordered Dellinger to serve between 4½ and 10 years on each negligent homicide–DUI charge. The sentences run consecutively, meaning Dellinger would have to serve at least nine years and as many as 20.
MacLeod gave Dellinger a suspended sentence of 3½ to seven years for his conviction on the second-degree assault charge.
On Dec. 9, 2019, however, Dellinger filed a motion to suspend the negligent homicide sentences.
Dellinger’s health, his motion said, “has seriously declined” since his last court appearance and he wants to be released to “enable him to reenter society and pursue proactive medical care and attempt to stem the deterioration caused by his multiple sclerosis.”
But in the state’s objection, Senior Assistant Attorney General Geoffrey Ward wrote, “Similarly egregious cases have actually been dealt with more harshly than the sentence the defendant received here.”
Ward, the Senior Assistant Attorney General, said Dellinger had not met the burden of proof to meet his “extraordinary request” to be “free to go” for time served.
He said Dellinger should have filed a motion to be released on medical parole, not a motion to suspend sentence, noting that MacLeod did “not have statements from experts, from doctors” to consider, but only lay opinions from Dellinger and his supporters.