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Woman convicted in deadly DWI crash asks for new trial

The Columbia woman convicted of involuntary manslaughter for driving the wrong way on I-70 in 2012 and killing a man is asking to be acquitted or to get a new trial.

Kelli Smith was convicted in December after a week long jury trial. A main point during the trial was whether she was drunk or given the date rape drunk and raped before the crash.

Smith’s defense lawyer, Jennifer Bukowsky, filed the request for a new trial Tuesday afternoon, citing 55 reasons why Smith should be acquitted or get a new trial.

Many of those 55 reasons pertained to the date rape drug and the alleged rape and how neither was allowed in the trial in the beginning.

Court documents ABC 17 News obtained show that ruling affected other things throughout the trial that may have led to a different outcome if originally allowed in.

For example, jury questioning.

Neither the state or defense was allowed to ask if potential jury members would be affected by the topic of rape or a date rape drug.

But in a post-trial interview with the jurors, one said they had been previously raped and it affected their judgement on the case. Two others agreed, saying they knew someone who had been given a date rape drug and didn’t think Smith could have driven a car after that. A fourth juror ended up being a nurse who told other jury members her opinion on fungus in the blood and how it reacts in the body. Therefore, Bukowksy argued that some jurors were improperly seated because of that withheld information.

The motion goes on to argue the fact that two of the defense’s witnesses were unable to testify because the defense claims they had to altar their strategy mid-trial because of surprise information from the state. Those two witnesses were friends of Smith who were with her the night of the crash and would have both testified that she was not drunk.

The motion also argues the jury was not properly instructed on involuntary intoxication or blood alcohol evidence, possibly affecting the outcome of the case and prohibiting Smith from a fair trial.

It wraps up by arguing that new evidence from a DNA test could affect that outcome. A judge will rule on whether or not to test Smith’s cervical swab taken after the crash for DNA Wednesday.

ABC 17 News reached out to the state for a comment on the motion, but prosecutors declined to say anything because the case is ongoing.

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