PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A third-degree murder charge has been dropped against Jayna Webb, a woman accused of beating and killing two Pennsylvania state soldiers and a man whom the soldiers were trying to help. A judge dropped the charge at Webb’s preliminary hearing on Wednesday.
Webb’s defense attorney says Commonwealth failed to prove that its client acted out of malice. But Webb is still charged with manslaughter, manslaughter by vehicle, and DUI.
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The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office has already dismissed third-degree murder charges against Webb. A hearing would have to be held to determine whether that charge would be reinstated.
The state put forth its case against Webb in a preliminary hearing that lasted more than five hours at the Criminal Justice Center.
Dozens of Pennsylvania State Police personnel filed in court Wednesday morning for the much-anticipated preliminary hearing.
Webb is charged with an accident on I-95 South near the stadium complex on March 21 that killed Pennsylvania State Troopers Martin Mack, Brandon Siska and a pedestrian, Reyes Rivera Oliveras.
The assistant DA called nine witnesses to the stand, including a toxicologist who testified that Webb’s blood alcohol content was 0.211, more than double the legal limit, and that marijuana was found in his system.
Another key witness was a soldier who testified that Sisca and Mack, in a tragic twist, had pulled Webb on that fateful day for driving 113 mph, but both were quick to respond to another emergency. A pedestrian was walking on the highway.
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A crash reconstruction specialist testified that Webb was driving at 78 mph when his Chevy Captiva slammed three men, launching them over a concrete barrier separating the north and south side lanes. Gone.
Webb broke down in tears when prosecutors played surveillance video showing the fatal crash from Lincoln Financial Field. Her lawyer says she apologizes for her actions.
“She’s told me she’s sorry on several occasions because again, it was an accident. She would never want to kill anyone and you heard there, she has no criminal record. She’s never been violent in her life.” Actually, she was a superstar track runner in high school. She’s a good girl. It’s just that, she has some issues with her drinking,” defense attorney Michael Walker said.
Webb’s family and the two slain soldiers appeared in court on Wednesday, but declined to speak on camera.
The judge also granted Webb $600,000 in bail. He was earlier being held without bail.
He is set to appear for hearing next month.
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CBS3’s Jan Carabio contributed to this report.