FORT LAUDERDALE, Fl. – A former FBI agent was acquitted Monday of killing two brothers by driving drunk the wrong way down an interstate, but he was convicted of lesser charges.
The case had led to allegations that the Florida Highway Patrol engaged in a racist cover-up to protect the agent.
David Farrall, 39, was cleared of drunken-driving manslaughter and vehicular homicide. He was found guilty of misdemeanor drunken and reckless driving and could get up to six years in prison.
He had faced up to 30 years for the wreck that killed youth minister Maurice Williams, 23, and his half brother, Craig Chambers, 19, a college student.
"It's been a long three years," Farrall said outside court. As for the victims' relatives, he said: "Hopefully, they'll find some peace and comfort. My heart and prayers go out to them."
But the victims' mother took no solace in the verdict. "He gets to go home and have Thanksgiving dinner with his family," Florence Thompson said. "Where's my sons?"
The jury deliberated for three days after hearing conflicting testimony over who was driving the wrong way in the head-on collision on Interstate 95 in Pompano Beach.
The defense called three witnesses who said they saw a light-colored car heading south in northbound traffic. Farrall's car was dark green. The brothers' car was beige.
Prosecutors had experts testify that physics showed Farrall was driving the wrong way.
His blood-alcohol level was measured at 0.14, or nearly twice the legal limit of 0.08 percent. The defense challenged the reliability of the machine.
The 300-pound former weightlifter testified he was not impaired after drinking most of two pitchers of beer at a sports bar with a supervisor on the night of the crash. Farrall was fired after the off-duty crash.
The Florida Highway Patrol initially reported the brothers were heading the wrong way. The agency reversed its position a month later.
The victims' relatives accused law enforcement of racial discrimination. Farrall is white; the victims were black.
But a separate state investigation found no evidence of racism or a cover-up on the Florida Highway Patrol's part.
The family is suing the FBI, FHP and the bar.