WATERLOO — Nearly three years after a crash that killed two people on a motorcycle, there may be a trial in the case.
On Monday in Seneca County Court, Judge Rick Healy set a Sept. 24 trial date for Earl Wilson. The Romulus man is accused of killing Steve Lester of Manchester and Patty Perryman of Canandaigua in a Sept. 16, 2015, accident on Route 96A in Fayette.
Wilson pleaded guilty in 2016 to vehicular homicide, manslaughter and felony driving while intoxicated and was sentenced to 15 years-to-life in prison by then-county Judge Dennis Bender.
Wilson tried to withdraw his plea, claiming his attorney at the time, Assistant Public Defender John Nabinger, coerced him into a plea. Bender rejected Wilson’s request. An appeals court later referred the matter back to county court, ruling Bender should have allowed Wilson to withdraw the plea after a toxicology report showed Lester also was intoxicated.
Wilson said he asked Nabinger for the report repeatedly but didn’t get it until after he pleaded guilty and another attorney, Rome Canzano, was assigned to represent him.
The toxicology report showed Lester’s blood-alcohol level at 0.081 percent after a first reading and 0.098 following a second reading. The legal limit for driving in New York is 0.08.
State police said Wilson’s blood-alcohol content was 0.23, nearly three times the legal limit for driving. A state police report determined that the pickup truck Wilson was driving was in the wrong lane at the time of impact.
In court Monday, Healy said he planned to offer Wilson a chance to plead guilty again, this time for a sentence of 12½-to-25 years in prison. However, District Attorney Barry Porsch was opposed to that deal, and Healy said after looking at Wilson’s criminal record he agreed that a conviction — either by plea or trial — merited a potential life sentence.
In addition to the trial date, Healy scheduled a suppression hearing for Aug. 31.
“I want to move this case along,” the judge said.
Canzano said he was surprised by Healy’s decision to withdraw the 12½-to-25-year offer, indicating Wilson was prepared to accept the deal.