Over the objections of the victim’s family, a Shawnee man pleaded guilty Wednesday to killing a woman in an October 2013 traffic crash in Prairie Village.
Roy Lee Maney pleaded guilty to reckless second-degree murder and leaving the accident scene in the death of 30-year-old dance instructor Tiffany Mogenson.
According to previous court testimony, the vehicle of Maney, 33, smashed into Mogenson’s vehicle after fleeing an attempted traffic stop by Prairie Village police.
In exchange for the guilty plea, Johnson County prosecutors dismissed charges of aggravated battery and obstructing the legal process.
Mogenson’s husband, Mike Mogenson, called the plea agreement “absolutely sickening.” He hired attorneys to ask Johnson County District Judge Brenda Cameron not to accept the plea.
The family wanted Maney to go to trial on all the charges, including a count of first-degree felony murder that a jury could have considered as an alternative to second-degree murder, said Jason Billam, an attorney who represented the family.
The plea agreement calls for prosecutors and the defense to recommend the consecutive maximum sentences allowed under sentencing guidelines for someone with Maney’s criminal history. Prosecutors said they expect Maney to be sentenced to nearly 16 years in prison.
Cameron scheduled sentencing for April 8.
Prosecutors believed the plea was a “really good resolution” to a very difficult case, said Assistant District Attorney Lannie Ornburn.
The 188-month term Maney faces would be the second longest imposed for a vehicle-related Johnson County homicide in recent decades, he said.
“It is certainly not a slap on the wrist,” Ornburn said.
Tiffany Mogenson, a Blue Springs dance studio owner and former Chiefs cheerleader, was stopped at 75th Street and Roe Avenue when Maney’s car, traveling an estimated 90 mph, crashed into the back of her car, killing her instantly.
Before the crash, a Prairie Village police officer clocked Maney’s black Mercedes going 48 mph in a 35 mph zone on 75th Street, according to testimony. But when the officer turned on his lights and siren and began to pursue the Mercedes, it accelerated away. The officer said he terminated the pursuit almost immediately but continued driving on 75th Street.
As the officer approached Roe Avenue, he saw the wreck scene.
An accident reconstruction expert testified that Maney’s car was traveling at least 89 mph at impact.
Maney ran from the scene but was arrested after a short chase.
Officers said he smelled as if he had been drinking. But his blood was not drawn until three hours after the wreck because police had to obtain a search warrant. Testing showed a blood alcohol content of 0.05 percent, according to testimony. The Kansas legal limit is 0.08 percent.
After Wednesday’s hearing in Johnson County District Court, Mike Mogenson said he understood that no sentence would bring his wife back or be long enough for what Maney did, but he believed that prosecutors should have insisted that Maney plead guilty to all four charges or take him to trial.
Mogenson, an attorney, said he understood that a trial on the first-degree felony murder charge could have provided Maney a legal issue that could be appealed. The charge said the death occurred while Maney was engaged in the dangerous felony of fleeing from police.
The defense could argue that the police pursuit ended once the officer turned off his lights and sirens, Mogenson said. But he believed there was sufficient evidence to show Maney was continuing to flee.
The family was willing to “shoulder the burden” of a trial and appeal “so other families wouldn’t have to go through this,” he said.
“The only interests served today were the defendant’s.”
Courthouse veterans said they could not remember another case in which the victim’s family hired an attorney to contest a guilty plea.
Mogenson said the family was exercising its right to be heard under the Kansas victims bill of rights.