A Suffolk Superior Court jury today acquitted a Mattapan man of manslaughter charges that were filed following a high-speed chase through Mattapan that ended with a spectacular crash that killed an 18-year-old woman.
Jason Bailey, 31, was accused by Suffolk prosecutors of being an aggressive driver who chased a Dodge Stratus down Blue Hill Avenue after Bailey had a brief argument with the victim, Porsche Hubbard, at a Mattapan gas station early in the morning of Aug. 3, 2007.
But as the trial got underway, a key prosecution witness, 13-year-old China White, disclosed that Hubbard had tossed bleach into the face of the driver. White was 10 years old and a passenger in the car at the time of the crash.
Bailey's defense attorney, Steven J. Sack, had urged the panel to acquit, arguing that Boston Police misidentified the car, and that it was never clear his client was the driver of an SUV involved in the crash.
"He's very grateful that the jury decided in his favor,'' Sacksaid in a telephone interview today. "They took the time to review the whole case, instead of just part of the case. But they listened carefully.''
Sack said it "would have been easy for (jurors) to be swayed'' by more disturbing evidence introduced during the trial, including photographs of the crash scene.
White had to be cut out of the car by Boston firefighters, and the driver, Ladeisha Shepard, was in a coma for several weeks. Her six month old daughter, who was in a car seat, was ejected but suffered minor injuries.
Sack said the disclosure by White about the bleach throwing incident was a complete surprise to him and to Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley's office, which prosecuted Bailey.
Jake Wark, Conley's spokesman, said prosecutors believed they ahd presented more than enough evidence to convince jurors to convict Bailey of manslaughter.
"Obviously, it's disappointing,'' Wark said in a telephone interview. "We felt the evidence was strong enough, unfortunately the jury chose not to see that evidence.''
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