published Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

Man’s DUI conviction in deadly wreck overturned

The convictions of man who pleaded guilty to killing two people in a 2006 crash while driving drunk will be sent back to trial court.

The state Court of Appeals ruled today that one of the convictions violated double jeopardy standards.

In June 2006, Dennis Neil Bizzoco, 20 at the time, was driving on Mountain Creek Road when he crossed a double yellow line and struck a Lexus driven by Jerry Martin. Both Martin and a passenger in Bizzoco’s car, Brandon Bodifer, were killed, according to court records.

Bizzoco was later found to have been intoxicated at the time of the crash.

In 2009, Bizzoco pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide by intoxication, reckless homicide, vehicular assault and DUI and received a sentence of eight years in jail.

Bizzoco has since appealed his sentencing, stating that convictions for both vehicular homicide by intoxication and DUI violates double jeopardy principles, which protect the accused from multiple punishments of the same offense.

In documents filed today, the court of criminal appeals in Knoxville confirmed that the DUI conviction should have been included in his homicide and assault charges and have overturned the conviction. The court of appeals sent the case back to trial court to reconfigure Bizzoco’s convictions.

“The sentencing will be the same amount of time. This just corrects something that should have been addressed on the offset,” said Lee Davis, who represented Bizzoco at the trial court level.

The appeals court “affirmed Bizzoco’s remaining convictions and sentences in all other respects,” court records stated.

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