By Conrad Dudderar
An Oklahoma City man has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and no contest to leaving the scene of a fatal accident in connection with a deadly “wrong-way” crash on the Kilpatrick Turnpike near Yukon.
Malcolm Douglas Penney, 40, entered the “blind” plea during a Nov. 23 hearing in Canadian County District Court. The defendant, who appeared with attorney Daniel Hensch, waived his right to a trial.
District Judge Paul Hesse accepted Penney’s plea and found him guilty.
Sentencing is set 1:30 p.m. Jan. 18, 2022, before Judge Hesse. The state Department of Corrections was ordered to conduct a pre-sentence investigation.
Penney is being held without bond at the Canadian County Jail in El Reno.
Assistant District Attorney Eric Epplin alleges Penney was driving drunk when he caused a traffic collision about 12:15 a.m. Oct. 3 on the Kilpatrick Turnpike near S.W. 15th in eastern Canadian County.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol investigated the crash, which claimed the life of Oklahoma City’s Marissa Murrow, 19.
She was a sophomore at the University of Central Oklahoma, studying to become a special education teacher. The victim was reportedly driving to her parents’ Mustang home when she was killed.
Murrow was driving a 2014 Ford Focus southbound in the outside lane of the Kilpatrick Turnpike when her vehicle was struck head-on by a 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander driven by Penney, according to an OHP report.
Penney’s vehicle was heading north in the southbound lanes, the report shows.
Murrow was pinned for about 20 minutes before being freed by Oklahoma City Fire crews. She was pronounced dead about 11 p.m. Oct. 3 at OU Medical Center.
OHP investigators allege Penney walked away from the scene instead of trying to help the victim or even call 911. He was later arrested and taken to INTEGRIS Canadian Valley Hospital in Yukon for treatment of injuries.
A blood test performed several hours after the deadly crash showed Penney’s blood-alcohol content was more than twice the legal limit, court records show.
Penney has previous convictions in Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, and Louisiana for driving under the influence, driving while intoxicated and public intoxication.
WRONGFUL DEATH SUIT
A wrongful death lawsuit against Penney is pending in Canadian County District Court.
An attorney for the victim’s parents, Jeffrey Murrow and Kristine Murrow, filed the civil suit Nov. 20, 2020.
Penney “was driving a motor vehicle unlawfully, illegally, negligently, recklessly and in an intoxicated condition on the Kilpatrick Turnpike near Yukon,” according to the petition.
He had been drinking alcohol for nearly 10 hours at a wedding before the deadly collision, plaintiffs allege.
A co-defendant in the lawsuit, Amanda Penney, owns the Mitsubishi Outlander. She allegedly allowed Malcolm Penney to drive while intoxicated despite knowing his drunk driving history and that he was “not capable” of safely operating the vehicle.
Amanda Penney “knew or should have known that defendant Malcolm Penney posed a serious and immediate threat to the public and other drivers”, the suit alleges.
The victim, Marissa Murrow, was a valedictorian for the Mustang High School Class of 2019. She was a member of the Sigma Kappa sorority at UCO and Chisholm Heights Baptist Church in Mustang.
In their wrongful death suit, her parents are seeking to recover for their daughter’s personal injuries, physical and mental pain and suffering, loss of companionship, grief and sorrow, and loss of the family relationship.
The plaintiffs demand a specific punitive damage award against Malcolm Penney “in excess” of $1 million.