Local News

Carlson trial could hit a snag

VERO BEACH - Jeff Carlson's manslaughter trial is still scheduled for 9 a.m. April 8. However, Indian River County has not slated an evidentiary hearing for the former Highlands County commissioner. Witnesses told Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission investigators Carlson had been drinking the night of July 24, 2010, before his 22-foot boat crashed into a channel marker near Capt. Hiram's Restaurant in Sebastian. His wife, Julie, 38, was killed. Carlson registered a blood-alcohol level of 0.076 percent, just under Florida's minimum impairment level of 0.08. His blood alcohol level at the time of the crash was between 0.11 and 0.15, according to Laura Barfield, a Florida Department of Law Enforcement toxicologist. Judge Robert Pegg denied Carlson's request to suppress evidence. Carlson, of Sebring, contended that investigators had illegally taken bottles of alcohol from the boat.
One barrier to the evidentiary hearing is that Carlson's attorney, Kirk Kirkconnell, died last year and has been replaced by his partner, Michael Snure. The trial cannot take place until an evidentiary hearing has been conducted, a court clerk said.

gpinnell@highlandstoday.com (863) 386-5828