Family members react to Troupe verdict - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Family members react to Troupe verdict

August 26, 2006

Coffee County-- A jury finds a Coffee County woman not guilty of homicide by vehicle in the 2003 ATV crash that killed five kids.

The Lincoln LS Amanda Troupe was driving September 20, 2003 struck the ATV overloaded with Megan Nelson, Kayla and Dustin Varnedore, Lindsay Joyner, Courtney Arsenault and Heather Bass.  Bass was the only survivor on the ATV.

Prosecutors had charged Amanda Troupe with a 20-count indictment including 15 counts of homicide by vehicle.  Today, a jury exonerated her of most of the charges. 

It was just before five o'clock when the jury reached their verdict. "Counts three four and five death of Coranne Megan Nelson, not guilty." As the counts of not guilty to homicide by vehicle were read for each child, Amanda Troupe bowed her head and received hugs from her attorneys. Sobs came from both sides of the courtroom.

The families of Megan Nelson, Kayla and Dustin Varnedore, Lindsay Joyner, Courtney Arsenault and Heather Bass were excused from the courtroom first. They say justice wasn't served.  

"Just broken hearted, I mean our babies are dead and she gets off scott free, that ain't right," said David Varnedore, Jr.

Kayla and Dustin Varnedore's grandfather David Varnedore Sr., said all six of the families are upset by the jury's decision. Varndore said,  "All the families have been hurt since it happened, and I just don't feel right about it."

And he doesn't understand the jury's reasoning. Varnedore said, "I don't understand how they can find her guilty of DUI and driving a vehicle, but can't get her for vehicular homicide."

They say now they're just left with fleeting memories. "All we have is faint memories, and they're fading away, my niece and nephew were the perfect kids they never did nothing wrong and they didn't deserve to be taken out that way," said Kayla and Dustin's Aunt Loretta Varnedore.

The family of Amanda Troupe, respectfully declined an interview out of respect for the other families.

Troupe was found guilty of driving under the influence and driving under the influence less safe.  The maximum sentence for those misdemeanor crimes is a year maximum for each.  Troupe's sentencing will be at a later date.  

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