Prosecution Rests in Janklow Trial for Killing of Motorcycle Rider

South Dakota Congressman Bill Janklow claims that diabetes made him unable to see the stop sign that he ran at at 71 mph, killing motorcyclist Randy Scott. But witness testimony seems to contradict that. **By _

Lawyers for William Janklow, the South Dakota Congressman who ran a stop sign at about 70 mph and killed Minnesota motorcyclist Randy Scott in August, are using his diabetes and side effects of various drugs he takes as the excuse for Janklow's actions. Janklow's attorney has told the jury at the felony manslaughter trial in the four-time Governor's home town, that Janklow did not see the stop sign. The lawyer said that "only a fool or someone attempting to commit suicide" would so blatantly disregard a stop sign.

However prosecution witnesses testified that Janklow did the same thing a year ago at the same stop sign, that he passed another driver at a high rate of speed shortly before the fatal crash, and that at the scene he said he "goosed it" to avoid another car -- one that no one else saw -- and that he twice said he saw the sign. His statement at the scene that he swerved to avoid this other car also seemed to be contradicted by the police accident investigator who said that neither he nor Scott, the victim, took any avoidance manuvers.

On Tuesday morning, the jury had heard the testimony of Terry Johnson, the friend who was riding with Scott but cleared the intersection before Janklow ran the stop sign, the driver Janklow passed just before the collision, and witnesses to the actual impact. On Wednesday, the officer who pursued him and clocked him at 92 mph when he did the same thing at that intersectionm -- although without the impact -- testified along with the driver who Janklow almost hit at that time. A medic at the scene, who is a diabetixc himself, testified that Janklow did not appear to be suffering from low blood sugar but that he did have a soda and candy at the scene, which might indicate low blood sugar. The EMT also said that Janklow told him that he had eaten earlier. The statement about eating contradicts the testimony of Janklow's aide, who was riding with him at the time of the crash. A Highway Patrol accident reconstructionist testified about Janklow's speeds and how the accident unfolded.

The trial, which started December 1, is expected to last a total of about a week. On Thursday the defense is expected to present most of its case. Its witnesses are expected to include Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota, who was with Janklow at an event before the crash and its own expert witnesses.

Many see it as a test of whether citizens of his home state and Flandreau, his home town where he is a near-legend, will allow him to get away with manslaughter, the crime he is charged with. It carries a 10-year maximum sentence. If the four-term governor is let off with a hand-slap, motorcyclists have begun to talk about boycotting the Sturgis Rally, South Dakota's single largest tourist event.

For more detail on the Janklow trial, click on the article links below.

From Wednesday, December 3:

From Tuesday, December 2:

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William Janklow in 2002, when he was South Dakota's Governor.