Woman convicted in fatal huffing crash seeks new trial

The attorney for Danielle Packer, the Bellefonte woman convicted of murder, vehicular homicide and other charges related to a crash that killed a man in August 2012, is asking for a new trial for her client.

Packer’s public defender, Deborah Lux, filed a motion earlier this month asking President Judge Thomas King Kistler for a new trial on the grounds that prosecutors “intentionally” withheld evidence favorable to Packer’s case.

Lux also motioned before trial to keep personal and family information about Matthew Snyder, 25, who was killed in the crash, from being introduced at trial and to keep Snyder’s wife from testifying, she said.

The motion was denied. Allowing that testimony created undue prejudice against Packer with the jury, Lux said.

“I’m not trying to sound cold here, but it’s irrelevant to what was happening at the time of the accident,” she said.

Packer was convicted of 11 of 12 counts brought against her in an October trial before Judge Bradley P. Lunsford. The charges stem from a crash that occurred after Packer inhaled Dust-Off and drove while impaired.

In the motion, Lux wrote that the prosecution never made her aware of a consultation with a pathologist that said the levels of intoxicants in Packer’s blood were “woefully unimpressive” after the accident.

Lux also cited errors in jury instruction in her request for a new trial.

Lunsford said he cannot comment on pending cases. Calls and emails to District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller’s office were not returned.

A December court order reassigned Lunsford from hearing criminal matters, and the case was assigned to Kistler, who sentenced Packer to 10-20 years in state prison last month.

Kistler has 120 days from the day the motion was filed, Feb. 2, to make a decision, he said.

The motion is automatically denied if nothing is decided after that time, Kistler said, but the defense can still appeal to the state Superior Court after that.