April 17, 2012
A Virginia man accused of running over a 49-year-old in 2008 pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in Rockingham County Circuit Court on Tuesday.
Timothy Hinkle originally faced charges of second-degree murder, abduction, and leaving the scene of a fatal accident along Route 340 in Grottoes in August 2008.
Christopher McCarthy, 49, was found unconscious lying on the road with severe head injuries and several scrapes and bruises. McCarthy was taken to the University of Virginia Medical Center, where he died a few days later.
Three years after the incident, investigators arrested and charged Hinkle with the crime. In the plea agreement reached Tuesday, second-degree murder was reduced to involuntary manslaughter and the other charges were dropped. He faces a maximum sentenced of ten years behind bars.
A piece of evidence that was returned to Hinkle during the investigation could be one reason for the reduction in charges and subsequent plea deal. A tire from the truck Hinkle was driving was returned to him with a packet of DNA evidence still attached. Investigators were never able to recover that tire, despite efforts to trace it.
McCarthy's family agreed to the plea, saying it gives them some form of closure. However, his brother is upset over the mishandling of the evidence.
"That's really frustrating. Me and my brother are looking at filing a civil case in reference to the mishandling of the evidence," said Zachary McCarthy. "We felt if the evidence had not been mishandled and it had been brought into the case, then we felt this guy would do more time than just 10 years."
Hinkle will be sentenced on July 17.