Preliminary hearing for manslaughter, trial on other counts slated for Oct. 18
By Alex Bridges -- email@example.com
WINCHESTER -- The Frederick County man accused of driving drunk and causing a fiery crash that killed four members of a family Sunday must remain in jail, a judge ordered Wednesday.
Steven Andrew Boyce, 20, of 221 Hawk Trail, Shawneeland, appeared for a bond hearing in Frederick County General District Court via video from the Northwestern Regional Adult Detention Center. Authorities have charged Boyce with aggravated involuntary manslaughter, a first offense of driving under the influence and underage possession of alcohol. Prosecutors have indicated they may likely seek additional charges against Boyce considering the crash resulted in four deaths.
Authorities have accused Boyce of causing the crash on U.S. 11 in Stephenson that claimed the lives of Amanda Roe and her husband, Mark Roe, and their two children, Caleb and Tyler. Court documents indicate a preliminary breath test showed he had
a blood alcohol content of 0.27 percent at the time of the crash.
Judge Amy Tisinger declined to issue a bond in Boyce's case, and set a preliminary hearing for the manslaughter charge, and a trial for the misdemeanor counts, for 2:30 p.m. Oct. 18. The judge told Boyce his attorney could file a motion with the court for reconsideration. Tisinger said Boyce indicated he planned to hire his own counsel.
Nearly a dozen of the victims' surviving family members attended the hearing. Boyce's hearing came up in the court earlier that morning, but Tisinger delayed the proceedings until the originally scheduled time of noon.
Commonwealth's Attorney Glenn Williamson asked the court to order Boyce held without bond, noting that even though the defendant has one felony charge, the crash resulting from his actions claimed four lives.
The prosecutor stated Boyce had been serving supervised probation at the time of the crash for a July 20, 2010, conviction of possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute, for which he had received a three-year suspended sentence.
Boyce acknowledged authorities had issued him a summons to appear in court for an alleged probation violation. Boyce also faces charges of underage possession of alcohol and domestic assault and battery that stem from a June 4 incident, Williamson noted.
Tisinger cited Boyce's pending charge of underage possession and allegations he violated probation as reasons for not considering setting bail for his new charges.
Williamson told Tisinger that the commonwealth also had charged Boyce with domestic assault and battery related to the June 4 offense. At that time, a preliminary breath test for alcohol showed Boyce had a level of 0.35, Williamson said, information that prompted disgusted reactions from several people in the audience.
A criminal complaint filed in Frederick County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court on the assault charge states a deputy responded to a fight at the beach in Shawneeland. A witness told Deputy D.O. Garcia she saw Steven Boyce and Michael Boyce fighting.
"They each 'squared off' with each other with fists drawn," the complaint states. "They each were drinking alcohol. Michael Boyce punched his brother in the face."
The deputy states he spoke to Michael Boyce, who said he drank two beers that day, and his brother, Steven, "came after him, his brother punched him first, he hit him back one time to defend himself." A preliminary breath test of Michael Boyce, who is 26, showed he had a blood alcohol level of 0.05, the complaint states.
Steven Boyce told the deputy he drank the night before and that day, but said his brother punched him in the face, according to the complaint. Steven Boyce had a blood alcohol level of 0.35, according to a preliminary breath test, the complaint states.
Steven Boyce faces a trial on the misdemeanor assault charge July 11. The underage possession of alcohol stemming from the same June 4 incident is set for trial in General District Court on Oct. 18.
Outside the courtroom, Williamson and Frederick County victim witness coordinator Melissa Rice spoke to the family members, several of whom wiped tears from their eyes. Rice explained the process would "not happen overnight," and advised them to call her with any questions or concerns.
"He is where he needs to be," Brenda Simkhovitch, Amanda Roe's mother, said after the hearing of the judge's decision.
Mark Roe's brother, Carl, echoed Simkhovitch.
"I'm happy," Carl Roe said. "He should stay in jail forever."