Sunday, June 24, 2018
News Roundup

Instead of going to prison, Tampa man will be freed while appealing DUI manslaughter conviction

Last month, Brock Troutman was convicted of drunkenly running down and killing a Clearwater Beach tourist who was crossing the street with his daughter in 2015.

On Monday, he was sentenced to five years in prison.

On Wednesday, a judge paved the way for Troutman to be released from jail.

That's because the 34-year-old Tampa man's lawyer asked a judge to release his client while the appeal winds through the 2nd District Court of Appeal.

Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Pat Siracusa agreed Wednesday, setting $50,000 bail. Troutman was expected to post bail and be freed from the Pinellas County Jail that night.

Assistant State Attorney Kristin Carpenter opposed the motion, writing in court records that "considering the gravity of this offense" Troutman should start his prison sentence immediately. The judge disagreed. His order cited the defendant's ties to the community and his attendance of previous court hearings.

The wife of Ricardo Carlos Moreno, the father of two from St. Louis, who died in 2015, said her family was "outraged" that Troutman could walk free.

"This is about justice and we're not getting justice here," Christine Moreno said. "We feel like we were totally ignored in this whole process."

Ricardo Moreno, 57, and his 20-year-old daughter were on a father-daughter trip. They were headed to their hotel on March 13 when they crossed Gulfview Boulevard using the crosswalk. That's when Clearwater police said a Ford pickup barreled into the father.

The driver, Troutman, was charged with DUI manslaughter. Tests revealed he had a blood-alcohol level of 0.107, police said. State law presumes a driver impaired at 0.08 or greater.

Troutman's appeal will focus on how police obtained a blood sample. Last year, attorney Frank Louderback filed a motion arguing his client did not voluntarily consent to give a blood sample. He argued Troutman was not free to leave the scene because officers had his driver's license. The motion also argued Troutman's statements to police should be thrown out of the case because officers never read him his Miranda rights against self-incrimination.

Circuit Judge Thane Covert, who presided over the case last year, threw out the defendant's statements but allowed the blood-alcohol results.

Troutman was convicted by a jury on March 2. He could have gotten 10 years, according to sentencing guidelines. Siracusa sentenced him to five years in prison and 10 years of probation on Monday.

"The sentence was totally appropriate for him," Louderback said. "I'm sure the victim's family doesn't agree, but here's a guy with no prior record who showed tremendous remorse."

Christine Moreno remembered her husband as a hard-working man who always put family first. He was a clinical psychologist who counseled prison inmates before his death. The couple was married for 30 years and had two grown daughters.

"He has completely destroyed our lives," the widow said of Troutman.

Contact Laura C. Morel at [email protected] Follow @lauracmorel.

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