In a dramatic courtroom twist, Kareem Alleyne, 36, was acquitted of vehicular homicide and involuntary manslaughter charges yesterday before the case even went before the jury.
A defense motion to acquit after the prosecution rested its case was granted by Judge Lillian Ransom.
“My client feels terrible that Officer Brady died, nobody ever wanted that to happen. But the honest and uncomfortable truth is that it was in fact his [Brady’s] fault,” Alleyne’s defense attorney James Funt said. “Officer Brady was an unpredictable, insanely jealous individual who had a license to carry a gun.”
Prosecutors will not retry Alleyne, the office of D.A. Seth Williams said in a statement.
“While the court chose to take the case from the jury and grant the defendant’s motion for acquittal, and while the evidence at trial may have unfolded differently, it is the purpose of a trial to provide a full, fair and public exploration of the evidence. We respect the result the criminal justice system has provided,” the D.A.’s statement said.
Alleyne was driving a white Toyota Acura away from his girlfriend’s home near Musgrave and Meehan streets as off-duty police officer Marc Brady biked towards it around 11:40 p.m. on Sunday, July 15, 2012, when the two collided. Brady was pronounced dead after midnight.
Prosecutors argued at trial that Alleyne intentionally struck Brady, who was on a Pacific mountain bike, due to “bad blood” between the two over the girlfriend they had both been involved with.
But Funt said the evidence showed that Alleyne was traveling at a rate of 10-15 miles per hour on a street with a limit of 25 mile-per-hour, and Alleyne made an “avoidance maneuver,” a slight veer to the left, while Brady “rode straight into him (Alleyne).”
“It was not a game of chicken,” Funt said. “My client had two to three seconds to make a snap decision on what to do.”
The office of D.A. Williams released a statement today reiterating that they believe Alleyne was at fault.
“The accident investigation report and physical evidence at the scene established that the defendant had ample opportunity to avoid a virtually certain collision. As the driver of a motor vehicle, the defendant had criminal liability for his reckless failure to prevent the collision,” the D.A.’s statement says.
Legally, Judge Ransom determined that prosecutors had not proven that Alleyne had the mental state of recklessness or gross negligence that is required to prove charges of vehicular homicide and involuntary manslaughter, according to Funt.
Evidence at trial include police records of an October 2011 incident where officers received a report of a “person with a gun” at Alleyne’s home on the 900 block of Price Street.
Officers testified that they found Brady outside the house and that he did not respond to officers until they drew their weapons. Brady was briefly cuffed. Officers testified that he was not armed.
But Brady’s ex-girlfriend, who was at Alleyne’s house that night, filed a domestic violence report against Brady for allegedly “pounding on the door.”
Brady was under investigation by Internal Affairs for that domestic violence report at the time of his death.
If Alleyne had not been acquitted, Funt said as part of his defense he would have called Internal Affairs officers, Philadelphia Police officers and civilian witnesses to the stand.
“They would have said that my client had been stalked and harassed for nearly two years by Officer Brady, that he [Alleyne] filed Internal Affairs complaints against this officer,” Funt said.
Internal Affairs had recommended charges of stalking and harassment against Brady, according to Funt, and an Internal Affairs hearing on those charges was scheduled to occur one week after the fatal crash.
“Had the D.A.’s office taken action sooner regarding Officer Brady, this would never have happened,” Funt said.