MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

May 9, 2013

Man faces manslaughter trial

McConnell also ordered to prison on earlier conviction

By Dylan Goforth
Phoenix Staff Writer

— A Muskogee man was bound over for trial Wednesday on a charge of first-degree manslaughter and was ordered to prison for a previous conviction.

Sothea Renordo McConnell, 23, is accused of driving under the influence during a Dec. 22, 2012 crash on Oklahoma 16, a mile west of Muskogee. Lesley Turay, a 46-year-old mother of two from Tulsa, was killed in the crash.

Turay was in the eastbound lane when the 2001 Cadillac Deville she was driving was allegedly struck by a 1997 GMC Yukon that McConnell was driving, according to an Oklahoma Highway Patrol report.

McConnell was found curled in a ball under the dashboard, hidden beneath the deployed airbag, Greg Curl said. Curl was driving home with his wife Dec. 22, 2012, when he heard the crash.

Curl said he could see Turay inside her vehicle, but couldn’t break the window to get to her. When emergency responders reached Turay, they found she did not have a pulse, Keith Carr said.

Carr, an emergency responder, testified that first responders were looking for McConnell’s identification when they found a bag of a “green, leafy substance” in McConnell’s pockets.

OHP Trooper Robert Francis testified that the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation determined that substance was marijuana. However, no marijuana was found in McConnell’s system following the crash.

What was found in McConnell’s system was a combination of painkillers and psychoactive drugs.

The affidavit lists the drugs in McConnell’s system as:

• Benzodiazepine.

• Ketamine.

• Lidocaine.

• Midazolam.

• Phencyclidine, also known as PCP.

Associate District Judge Norman Thygesen set McConnell for district court arraignment at 1:30 p.m. June 6.

McConnell was on probation after being convicted of possession of PCP. Thygesen ordered McConnell to serve 10 years in prison — the maximum punishment available for the PCP conviction.  

“Here’s a person (Turay) minding their own business, and now they’re dead,” Thygesen said. “I’m sorry, pard, you’re going to have to do some time.”  

Reach Dylan Goforth at (918) 684-2903 or dgoforth@muskogeephoenix.com.