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'Melrose Place's' Amy Locane Charged with Aggravated Manslaughter

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By Laura Strachan, Esq. on December 21, 2010 5:47 AM

Former "Melrose Place" actress Amy Locane is creating a plot line much steamier than anything that came out of the 90's drama she appeared on. The 39-year-old Locane has been charged with aggravated manslaughter relating to a fatal car crash that took place in New Jersey.

At the scene of the crash, which left Helen Seeman dead and her husband Fred in critical condition, officers smelled alcohol and noticed her eyes were blurred and her speech impaired. Their driving under the influence suspicions were confirmed after arresting Locane and testing her blood alcohol level at the local jail. The deadly crash occurred just minutes after Amy Locane was involved in a hit and run collision in her Chevrolet Tahoe. The aggravated manslaughter charge is related to the deadly second accident Locane's wine-fueled drive ended in.

Surprised by the charge, Locane's attorney Blair Zwillman is quoted in PopEater, "I don't believe it is supported by the law or the facts and I think it constitutes over-reaching by the prosecutor's office." If convicted Locane faces anywhere from 10 to 30 years in prison. She has been out on $50,000 bail since the accident.

So what exactly will it take to convict Amy Locane of aggravated manslaughter? New Jersey, like many other states, separates the crime of manslaughter into degrees. Aggravated manslaughter, or first degree manslaughter, carries the most serious punishments.

Beyond reckless, the prosecutors in this case must show that Locane acted with an extreme indifference to human life during the night in question. Although the presence of alcohol in her system is perhaps the strongest evidence against her, the fact that she hit another car moments before the fatal action will also serve as an argument to bridge the gap between reckless and extreme indifference.

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