State high court upholds conviction for causing Lexington officer's death

bmusgrave@herald-leader.comJune 20, 2013 

FRANKFORT — The state Supreme Court has upheld a Lexington man's manslaughter conviction in the 2010 death of Lexington Police officer Bryan Durman.

In a unanimous decision Thursday, the court ruled that there were no errors in the trial and conviction of Glenn Doneghy of second-degree manslaughter, leaving the scene of an accident, second-degree assault, fourth-degree assault and several drug charges. Doneghy was sentenced in 2011 to 20 years in prison for Durman's death.

Durman, 27, was struck by a sport utility vehicle belonging to Doneghy on North Limestone while investigating a noise complaint on April 29, 2010. Durman died a short time later.

He was the first Lexington police officer to die in the line of duty in about 25 years. He is survived by his wife, Brandy, and a son, Brayden.

Doneghy's lawyers had argued that several mistakes were made during the trial, including that Fayette Circuit Judge James Ishmael erred when he did not separate the charges relating to Durman's death from the charges that stemmed from Doneghy's arrest.

When police tracked Doneghy to his apartment, he refused to allow police in and barricaded himself inside, according to court records. Police testified that Doneghy tried to stab an officer when he was eventually forced out of his apartment. Marijuana and other drug paraphernalia was found on Doneghy during his arrest.

Doneghy's lawyers also questioned whether prosecutors made statements during closing arguments that were previously ruled inadmissible by Ishmael. The state Supreme Court ruled against Doneghy on all seven points raised in his appeal.

Although his efforts to appeal failed, Doneghy could be released on parole soon. Doneghy must serve 20 percent of the 20-year sentence before he is eligible for parole. Because he served 484 days in jail before being sentenced in 2011, Doneghy will be eligible for parole in 2014.

The Kentucky General Assembly passed a bill earlier this year —called the Bryan Durman Act — that would require that those convicted of second-degree manslaughter of a clearly identified police officer or firefighter serve 85 percent of their sentence. Because the bill was passed after Doneghy was sentenced, the new law won't affect his parole eligibility.

Beth Musgrave: (502) 875-3793. Twitter: @BGPolitics. Blog: bluegrasspolitics.bloginky.com

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