Appeals court denies former Tech student's new trial request

Appeals court denies former Tech student's new trial request

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Amarillo, TX -

The Seventh Court of Appeals in Amarillo denied a former Texas Tech student's appeal of her 2013 intoxication manslaughter and intoxication assault convictions.

Jeena Roberts, 28, is currently serving a 15-year concurrent sentence in Gatesville. 

She was drunk when she slammed into an SUV in 2010, killing Linda Smaltz and injuring Karen Wolf.

Following the conviction, Roberts went on the lam instead of reporting to prison.  

She was captured by U.S. Marshals and eventually found guilty of bail jumping.          

In her appeal, Roberts said her blood was taken without a warrant, violating her fourth amendment rights. At the time of her arrest, Texas law allowed for warrantless blood draws for intoxication offenses. The U.S. Supreme Court later found that law unconstitutional.

Justices also found Roberts was not under arrest when she made incriminating statements to police on the night of the crash. 

She first filed a motion for a new trial in 2014 claiming she didn't voluntarily plead guilty and was denied her right to testify in the original proceedings.

Roberts will be eligible for parole review in 2020.

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