Whitefield Case to Go to Bench Trial

- In what appears to be a last-minute, surprise hearing today, a former Wichita Falls police officer charged in connection with the deaths of two teenage girls and an unborn baby takes responsibility for his actions, but for a lesser charge.

Teddie Whitefield is charged with three counts of manslaughter.

That's in the deaths of 13-year-old Gloria Montoya, 18-year-old Yeni Lopez, and Lopez's unborn baby.

Lopez was reportedly eight months pregnant at the time of the wreck that killed them.

That crash happened on Jacksboro Highway in June 2011.

Authorities say Whitefield was on-duty when his police vehicle hit a car carrying the teens.

Toxicology results detected four different medications in Whitefield's system including an allergy medicine, diet pills, and two different types of depression medication, one of those Xanax.

Police reports state four hours earlier on June 30, Whitefield rear-ended another vehicle but caused no damage.

In a surprise hearing today, Whitefield waived his right to a jury trial.

He also entered judicial confessions to three counts of criminally negligent homicide, a lesser included offense of manslaughter.

Assistant District Attorney John Gillespie says the case will now go to a bench trial before 30th District Court Judge Bob Brotherton who will decide if Whitefield is guilty of manslaughter or of criminally negligent homicide.

Brotherton will then decide punishment.

Gillespie says no plea bargain is or will be offered in this case and he'll still advocate for guilt on three counts of manslaughter.

Criminally negligent homicide is a state jail felony that's punishable by probation up to two years in jail.

Because of the nature of that charge, a potential sentence would have to be served day-for-day.

Manslaughter is a second-degree felony.

It's punishable by probation up to 20 years in prison.

Punishment is not able to be stacked, so potential punishment would be served concurrently and the defendant would potentially be eligible for probation.

The date of the bench trial is not yet set.

We'll keep you up-to-date on the latest.

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