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Judge stays trooper's sentence

Retired State Trooper David M. O'Brien was released from custody Friday afternoon, two days after a judge in Little Valley ordered him to spend the next one to seven years in prison on his vehicular manslaughter conviction for a fatal crash in Carrolton last year.

O'Brien, 69, declined comment after his release from the Cattaraugus County Jail in Little Valley about 5 p.m.

About 90 minutes earlier, State Appellate Justice Jerome C. Gorski granted him a stay of sentence, which was vigorously opposed by Grace M. Hanlon, one of the prosecutors who obtained his June 9 conviction.

After Friday's closed-door hearing in the appellate judge's Buffalo chambers, Edward C. Cosgrove, the retired trooper's attorney, said he has been granted 120 days to file an appeal brief challenging the jury conviction and the prison term.

State Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr. had O'Brien, of Boulder Ridge Road, Allegany, taken from his Little Valley courtroom about noon Wednesday after he imposed the prison term and a $5,000 fine on his jury conviction in the death of Wendy J. Karnes.

Following a two-week trial, a Little Valley jury found O'Brien guilty of vehicular manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and misdemeanor drunken driving for driving the wrong way on Route 219 and slamming into the car of Karnes, 38, of Bradford, Pa., about 10:35 p.m. on April 26, 2008.

e-mail: mgryta@buffnews.com

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