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Not guilty verdict in N. Idaho triple-fatal boat crash

August 4, 2018

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho (AP) — An eastern Washington man has been found not guilty of three counts of involuntary manslaughter following a boating crash on Lake Coeur d’Alene in northern Idaho.

A Kootenai County jury on Friday acquitted 52-year-old Dennis Magner of Spokane following a two-week trial.

“It’s a bittersweet moment. There’s no winners in this,” said Magner’s attorney, Carl Oreskovich. “There’s not a time Mr. Magner did not feel the suffering of the families who lost children and loved ones in this accident.”

Kootenai County Prosecutor Barry McHugh declined to comment.

Magner was driving a boat in the dark on July 30, 2016, that crashed into a stopped boat and killed 34-year-old Justin Luhr of Medical Lake, 21-year-old Justin Honken of Post Falls and 21-year-old Caitlin Breeze of Spokane.

Jessica Breeze, Caitlin Breeze’s mother, said she was “deeply disappointed with the outcome of this trial.”

Authorities say Magner’s boat went airborne and ripped the top off the other boat.

Prosecutors contended Magner was drunk and negligent in the crash.

Defense attorneys said he wasn’t drunk and was operating the boat safely. Magner testified that he didn’t see the collision coming because the other boat’s lights weren’t on. He also testified he couldn’t remember the crash.

Magner and two others in his boat were thrown from the craft. An expert testified that Magner may have suffered a traumatic brain injury in the collision, accounting for his memory loss about the event.

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