Man Charged In DUI Death Admits Responsibility

By: Cayle Thompson Email
By: Cayle Thompson Email

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Adam Rhodes, 27, has been found guilty of 2nd Degree Murder for the March 16th death of 44-year-old Tio Bolan.

Rhodes took the witness stand in his own defense Monday afternoon, telling a judge he was responsible for the drunk driving crash that killed Bolan.

Prosecutors charged Rhodes with 2nd Degree Reckless Murder, saying his actions that night were in blatant disregard for the safety of himself and others.

Rhodes' attorney, Quentin Pittman, says his client never denied responsibility. The bigger question, Pittman argued, was whether Rhodes was guilty of murder of involuntary manslaughter.

Rhodes says he remembers having one glass of wine at a downtown bar the night of March 16th, but after that - his memory was blank. Bartenders from two bars downtown testified Rhodes had as many as four glasses of wine, and was clearly drunk.

When Rhodes left, prosecutors say he drove to his employer, Watermark Books near Douglass and Oliver, and lobbed a brick through a window. They say he then sped away at nearly 90 miles an hour, topping a small hill on Pawnee near Hillside, careening into the back of a red Chevy Cavalier driven by Tio Bolan.

Rhodes says he only remembers waking up in an ambulance and speaking with paramedics. He said in court Monday that he didn't realize anybody had died in the crash until he read a newspaper the next day.

Rhodes waived his right to a jury trial - opting instead to allow a judge alone to decide his fate. Rhodes previously pleaded guilty to a DUI charge in the same case. His blood-alcohol level the night of the crime was .19. The legal limit in Kansas is .08.

Judge Ben Burgess ruled quickly after each side rested its case. He found Rhodes guilty of 2nd Degree Murder, which carries a minimum of 9 years in prison. Had Rhodes been found guilty of the lesser charge of Involuntary Manslaughter, he would have faced about 3 years.

Rhodes apologized from the witness stand for his actions that night. It brings some solace for Bolan's family, who says they are grateful Rhodes took responsibility, but do not believe he is truly remorseful.

Rhodes will be formally sentenced on December 29th. His attorney plans to appeal the conviction.

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