Man who pleaded guilty in student's death not attending treatment

Judge says Alex's sentencing will not be delayed any further

Posted: Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Sixty days after pleading guilty to criminally negligent homicide in the 2005 death of Jody Watson, David Alex still has not attended a treatment program, for which his sentencing was delayed.

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Although drug or alcohol treatment was not required, Juneau Superior Court Judge Patricia Collins said she postponed Alex's sentencing until Oct. 3 so he could attend it.

A long-term treatment program might reduce Alex's sentence, prosecutor Jack Schmidt said.

Collins said in a hearing Tuesday she would not delay Alex's sentencing date again.

Alex, 24, faces five years in prison, if given a maximum sentence.

He and Stephanie Smathers, 20, were driving on Glacier Highway on Aug. 31, 2005, when a fight broke out. Smathers hit Alex, whose vehicle crossed into the oncoming lane and hit the car driven by 25-year-old Watson, a University of Alaska Southeast student, at the Brotherhood Bridge.

Toxicology reports show Alex's and Smathers' blood contained oxycodone. Marijuana was found in Alex's system.

Public defender David Seid told Collins that unlike co-defendant Stephanie Smathers, Alex could not afford a private treatment clinic.

In a plea bargain with the state, Smathers pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide in January. She agreed to testify against her then-boyfriend Alex.

He pleaded guilty in May.

The May plea agreement ties Smathers' and Alex's sentencing together. According to the agreement, he cannot receive a harsher sentence than she can. Smathers also is free on bail.

Seid earlier declined to say what type of treatment his client sought. The attorney said he was not sure what Alex has been doing in the month following his guilty plea, then added, "He is getting married."

Collins said Watson's mother, Diane Souron, deserved closure. She warned Seid that no extra time would be allowed for treatment should his client find the resources later.

"We need to proceed," she said.

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