Marietta teen pleads innocent in vehicular homicide case

Parkersburg man died in crash

Photo by Janelle Patterson
Kaitlyn Barton, right, appears with her attorney George Cosenza, left, for arraignment in Judge Mark Kerenyi’s court Wednesday in Marietta.

Photo by Janelle Patterson Kaitlyn Barton, right, appears with her attorney George Cosenza, left, for arraignment in Judge Mark Kerenyi’s court Wednesday in Marietta.

MARIETTA — A Marietta teen indicted at the end of August for the death of a young man in April pleaded not guilty to all counts in Washington County Common Pleas Court Tuesday.

Kaitlyn G. Barton, 18, of 101 Stonecrest Drive, was indicted for aggravated vehicular homicide, a first-degree felony; aggravated vehicular homicide, a second-degree felony; driving under OVI suspension, a first-degree misdemeanor, and operation while under the influence of alcohol, a first-degree misdemeanor.

Throughout the arraignment Barton wiped tears from her face with her sleeve but only spoke when Washington County Common Pleas Judge Mark Kerenyi asked if she understood the charges against her.

“As you can see from reading the indictment this case arises out of an accident,” said Barton’s attorney, George Cosenza. “Kaitlyn was severely injured in the accident. She suffered brain trauma and we are in the process of talking with her doctors to assure that she can appreciate the legal proceedings against her… we may be coming back to the court to address that issue.”

The accident cost Barton’s passenger, Chad Matthew Cokeley, 24, of Parkersburg, his life on April 23, after suffering a broken neck in the single-vehicle accident on Glendale Extension.

Cokeley worked for Jacobs Engineering with Kraton as a shift lead and was a member of Laborers’ Local 639.

“They determined he was dead before he was taken to the hospital,” said Washington County Prosecutor Kevin Rings.

The first count pertains to the death of Cokeley which occurred at the time that Barton’s license was suspended for a previous OVI conviction from April 12.

“It had been days since she lost her license for drunk driving,” said Rings.

From the incident report Barton was determined to have been driving the vehicle when she lost control, ran off the road and hit a tree.

Barton faces up to 11 years of prison for the first count, with at least a mandatory three-year prison term if convicted, and a fine of up to $25,000 and possible lifetime suspension from driving.

The second count, if convicted, could land Barton an additional prison term of up to eight years with at least a mandatory two-year prison term if convicted, with a fine of up to $15,000 and a possible lifetime suspension from driving.

Regarding the third count, driving under the OVI suspension, Kerenyi said the state only has to prove that Barton drove while her license was suspended. If convicted she faces up to 180 days in jail with a mandatory three days in jail, a minimum fine of $250, maximum of $1,000 and a license suspension of up to one year.

For the final count, operation while under the influence of alcohol, he said the state has to prove that Barton’s blood-alcohol level was between 0.096 and 0.204 at the time of the accident. If convicted she faces up to six months in jail with a mandatory three days in jail, a minimum fine of $375, maximum of $1,075 and a license suspension of up to three years.

“Keep in mind she’s a juvenile so her legal limit is 0.02,” said Rings. “She’s not even 19 yet.”

Barton’s first pretrial is set for Sept. 13 at 10:30 a.m., final pretrial scheduled for Sept. 28 at 9 a.m. and jury trial scheduled for Oct. 4 at 9 a.m.

Barton was released on a personal recognizance bond after she was booked in and out of the Washington County Jail Wednesday.

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