NEW INFO: Ky Supreme Court asks Judge to Consider Whether Facebook Tainted Jury Pool

By: Randy Yohe Email
By: Randy Yohe Email

UPDATE 10/3/12
MARTIN COUNTY, Ky. (AP) -- The Kentucky Supreme Court has ordered a judge to consider whether the deliberations of jurors in a murder trial were tainted by their exposure to the Facebook page of the victim's mother.

Last month, the high court sent back the case of 28-year-old Ross Brandon Sluss, convicted of murder in Martin County in March 2011.

In a precedent-setting ruling, Justice Mary Noble ordered Circuit Judge John David Preston to hold a hearing on whether jurors were truthful in pretrial questioning and to what, if any, extent exposure to the Facebook page of the victim's mother created a miscarriage of justice in Sluss' conviction.

Jurors found Sluss guilty of killing Destiny Brewer in a truck crash in June 2010. The case received wide publicity in Martin County as well as online.

That hearing is set for Thursday at 10 a.m. in Martin County Circuit Court

UPDATE 3/30/11 @ 6:20 p.m.
INEZ, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Prosecutors say a DUI murder case that ended in a guilty verdict Wednesday involved a menace to society -- and an innocent 10-year-old girl who's now dead.

This is a disturbing and tragic story.

Disturbing, because this is another DUI murder involving pain pills and what a grieving family says is a disregard for human life.

It's tragic because prosecutors say, for one hardcore addict, the rehab system did not work. Furthermore, a little girl -- ironically named Destiny -- is now in a grave.

In tearful testimony, April Brewer said because of 26-year-old Brandon Sluss, as well as his repeated life of driving under the influence, she will not be with her only child Destiny Brewer ever again.

“I decided I wanted to give all my attention and love to her and her alone,” April said.

Prosecutors say Sluss, a habitual drug and alcohol offender, was high on a pain pill cocktail last June, when his truck crossed the center line on Route 40, causing a head-on collision.

In the other vehicle was a grandmother, driving three girls home from the pool. Blanche Robinson was severely injured; her granddaughter Destiny died after the crash.

Sluss' attorney says his client was not impaired; he was reaching for a dropped cellphone and received an unfair Martin County trial.

“He thinks about that little girl every day," Defense Attorney Alvin Fletcher said. "He was not impaired, and he was vilified.”

But a jury found the suspect guilty of murder, assault and repeat DUI.
April says for justice -- for public safety -- Sluss should stay behind bars and off any roadway for as long as possible.

“He's had several DUI's, and he would go right out the and do it again," she said. "He has no remorse for me or my family whatsoever.”

The jury gave Sluss the maximum penalty on all six counts -- with a life sentence for the murder charge.

Prosecutors told the jury if they gave Sluss the minimum on murder, he'd be out in 17 years -- and in 17 years and one month, another little girl might die at the uncaring addicted hands of what he called a human hazard.

With the life sentence, Sluss will be eligible for his first parole hearing in 20 years.

UPDATE 3/30/11 @ 3:50 p.m.
INEZ, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Ross Sluss has been given the maximum sentence on all counts in a murder trial in Martin County, Ky.

Sluss was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of a 10-year-old girl, killed in a DUI accident last June.

Sluss will be eligible for parole in 20 years.

UPDATE 3/30/11 @ 1:30 p.m.
INEZ, Ky. (WSAZ) – A jury has found Ross Sluss guilty of murder in the death of a 10-year-old girl.

A Martin County Jury returned the guilty verdict after deliberating several hours on Wednesday. They found him guilty of murder, two counts of assault, tampering with evidence and DUI.

Sluss was charged with driving under the influence of drugs and crashing head-on into a car, killing 10-year-old Destiny Brewer who was a passenger in that car.

The accident happened in June on Route 40.

The penalty phase of trial began minutes after the verdict was read.

We have a crew in the courtroom.

Keep clicking on for updated information.

UPDATE 3/30/11 @ 10 a.m.
INEZ, Ky. (WSAZ) -- A jury is now deliberating the fate of a man charged with killing a child.

Ross Brandon Sluss, 25, is on trial for murder in Martin County, Ky.

Sluss is accused of driving under the influence of drugs and crashing head-on into a car, killing 10-year-old Destiny Brewer who was a passenger in that car.

The accident happened in June on Black Log Route 40.

The trial began on Monday.

The jury got the case around 10 Wednesday morning.

We have a crew in the courtroom.

Keep clicking on for updated information.

Court officials say testimony might wrap up Wednesday and the jury could start deliberating.

UPDATE 7/29/10 @ 8 a.m.
WARFIELD, Ky. (WSAZ) -- A candlelight vigil was held at Warfield Elementary Wednesday night to celebrate the life of 10-year-old Destiny Brewer.

Brewer died in June after a head on collision involving an allegedly impaired driver.

Family and friends came together to remember Destiny with prayer, performances and a candle light vigil.

“It's a remembrance for the family, not another funeral, but also an opportunity for students to grieve and share memories to remember destiny and everything she did in her life. We wanted something for the students before they went back to school,” Michael Marcum said.

The vigil was also to raise awareness about Destiny's Hope, a petition to the change the DUI laws and make them stricter.

Some money was also raised for Destiny's Hope.

“With all of the community involved, it really got the word out. I think this brings everyone together to show how great she was,” Cassie Robinson said.

Many say it was a night they will always remember.

UPDATE 6/29/10 @ 3 p.m.
MARTIN COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -- The man involved in a deadly DUI crash now faces a murder charge.

Ross Sluss was in court in Martin County on Tuesday.

Court officials tell, that one of the four wanton endangerment charges was upgraded to murder during the hearing.

The judge also set Sluss's bond at $100,000 cash.

Sluss is expected back in court on next week.

A 10-year-old girl died in the crash. The child's grandmother, Blanche Robinson, is now in fair condition at Cabell Huntington Hospital.

MARTIN COUNTY, KY (WSAZ) -- Sheriff's deputies in Martin County, Ky. say a child has died after a crash Friday evening.

It happened around 5:30 p.m. on Black Log Route 40. Deputies say Ross Brandon Sluss, 25, hit a car driven by Blanche Robinson head-on. Robinson was bringing her three granddaughters home from the pool. One of those children, Destiny, died Monday. Robinson is on life support in the hospital. The other two children were not hurt. Deputies say everyone in Robinson's car was wearing seatbelts.

Deputies say Sluss was under the influence of drugs. He's charged with DUI and is in the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center.

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