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2016 DUI death case moves forward

January 18, 2019
Johnathan Scott Hensley, of Huntington, left, appears with defense attorney Timothy Rosinsky in Cabell Circuit Judge Gregory Howard's courtroom on Wednesday to discuss DUI resulting in death charges from 2016.

HUNTINGTON — A Huntington intoxicated driving death case moved forward Wednesday with a defense attorney seeking additional testing to determine what drugs prosecutors believe his client was on when he struck two women, killing one, at a U.S. 60 store’s parking lot in 2016.

Johnathan Scott Hensley, of Huntington, was charged with driving under the influence causing death and driving under the influence causing serious bodily injury after he was accused of striking two individuals with his vehicle in the U.S. 60 Walmart’s parking lot.

Melanie Ann Stephenson died in the hospital about a week after the incident, and Judy Kaye Stephenson survived but was still in the hospital recovering at the time of her sister’s death.

In Cabell Circuit Judge Gregory Howard’s courtroom Wednesday, Hensley’s new attorney, Timothy Rosinsky, said he plans to move the case forward with the goal of going to trial, with Hensley not wanting to accept a plea deal offered by the state.

Rosinsky on Wednesday requested he be allowed to retrieve a vial of Hensley’s blood from the State Police crime lab and have it tested at an independent facility. He said he is also pursuing medical records to prove Hensley had obtained a Vivitrol shot earlier in the day of the crash. Vivitrol blocks opioid receptors, helping to prevent relapse in opioid dependence.

Rosinsky is also seeking an expert in distracted driving to testify at trial. The side will meet at 9 a.m. Feb. 27 for an update in the case and to set a possible trial date.

According to the criminal complaint, West Virginia State Police responded to the crash at the grocery side of the store and found two pedestrians injured after apparently being hit by a white Ford Expedition.

Witnesses identified Hensley, who had a criminal history, as the driver of the vehicle. They said he was driving excessively fast, talking on his cellphone and looking into the store while driving along the store entrance.

Police said in court that Hensley was aggressive on the scene before retreating into a mellow state. His pupils were dilated, he was sweating profusely and he allegedly refused a field sobriety test, but an officer obtained a warrant for Hensley’s blood to be screened for narcotics.

Hensley’s case has remained pending in Cabell Circuit Court for more than two years since his arrest, and he is currently out on bond. In August, his attorney asked to withdraw from the case and he was assigned new representation.

Follow reporter Courtney Hes-sler at Facebook.com/CHessler-HD and via Twitter ©HesslerHD.

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