Bobby C. Hunt: Husband, Father, Minister, Educator
Bobby C. Hunt was born on August 14, 1930. Before age 55 he had lived a successful and active career in education and church work. He had obtained a Bachelor's Degree in Theology, a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education, and a Master of Science Degree in Speech Pathology.
Bobby used all that education in serving his community as a minister, speech therapist in Exeter, Missouri Public School, and in his own private practice speech therapy. He also served as a Treasurer in the local Ministerial Alliance as a Chaplin, as a Pastor of a HomeMissionChurch, and with the Barry-LawrenceCountyDevelopmentCenter in Monett, Missouri.
He married Patsy J. Buchanan and they had five children: Barbara, Beverly, Barney, Brian and Bradley. At the very pinnacle of his active and successful life, Bobby was killed by a drunk driver who "only had a few beers" (but in fact had tested considerably over the legal amount of alcohol).
Ms. Icie Leola Tate, "the defendant". While under the influence of alcohol, caused the death of Bobby C Hunt by colliding with a vehicle in which the victim was driving, when operating a motor vehicle with criminal negligence and that the defendant was driving on the wrong side of the road. According to a witness, Ms Tate spent the afternoon at the Shingle Tavern playing pool and drinking two and one half beers.
The first trial took place on February 4th. 1986 in Mt Vernon, Missouri. LawrenceCounty. a change of venue had been granted from StoneCounty.
Jasper Co MADD had asked monitors to sit in on the trial, which seemed to unsettle Ms. Tate's attorney, one court monitor reported. "... the Jury was ask of anyone was a member of or had a friend who was a member of MADD. Once two or three people came in and the defense attorney had the Judge ask if they were members of MADD, also, because we shook hands with them but we didn't even speak to them."
The court monitor observed, "Icie Tate's attorney was very insolent regarding testimony of the troopers and the state prosecutor. Anyone who monitors jury trials soon catches on to the tactic used by defense attorneys. They will harass Law-enforcement officers and other witnesses and should the witness become upset at the harassment, the defense attorney will label the witness as a hostile witness.
Ms Tate's blood alcohol content (BAC) tested .16% by the state highway patrol lab in Jefferson City. Missouri. St Johns hospital in Springfield. Missouri. Tested her BAC at .14% Missouri law recognizes .10% ( or even less, when other circumstances are present) and higher as being legally drunk. Ms Tate's attorney stated in the closing arguments that the BAC was less than .10%. The first trial ended around 12:00 midnight in a Hung Jury.
The state's Prosecutor prefaced the second trial with a petition to the Judge that Ms Tate's attorney not be allowed to argue in the closing arguments that the BAC was less than .10%. The Jury in the second trial found Ms. Tate Guilty.
The Jury had five options in determining the sentence and or fine of Ms. Tate:
1. Imprisonment from 1 to 7 years.
2. Jailed in the county jail up to one year.
3. Imprisonment and a fine to be determined by the Judge.
4. Jail term and fine to be determined by the Judge.
5. No imprisonment but a fine to be determined by the Judge.
The Jury's decision was read by foreman Allan Denny: "No imprisonment but a fine. in an amount to be determined by the Court". Judge Yocom assessed the maximum fine of $5,000. The fine was to be paid in monthly payments of $100.00 a month beginning July 1, 1986, and to be paid within 5 years.
Victim's opinion of the judicial system:
Mrs. Hunt was asked what her opinion was of the judicial system. Her reply: "Better not be written down"
When you have been married to your husband for over 35 years, and a drunk is only fined $5,000 for the crime which resulted in the death of your life long companion, then it would tend to give you a low opinion of the judicial system. Five children lost their father, and the drunk driver lost five thousand dollars.
There is no conclusion to a story like this. The pain will always continue.