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No new trial for woman who killed 7 in crash

MARTINSVILLE, Ind. (AP) – An Indianapolis woman convicted of killing six children and a man in a wrong-way, head-on collision along a state highway will not get a new trial, a judge has ruled.

Judy Kirby, 46, said her lawyers did a poor job representing her in her 2001 trial where she was convicted of seven counts of murder. Kirby was sentenced to 215 years in prison.

Morgan County Judge Jane Craney rejected that claim and Kirby’s request for a new trial in a Feb. 18 decision, the Daily Journal reported.

Prosecutor Steve Sonnega said both of Kirby’s attorneys were accomplished and practiced trial lawyers.

Authorities said Kirby was bent on suicide on March 25, 2000, when she drove the wrong way for nearly two miles on State Road 67 near Martinsville and collided head-on with a minivan. Four children – including three of her own – riding in her car were killed along with a man and his two children in the other vehicle.

Kirby’s attorney argued during an October hearing that her trial attorneys failed to object to discussion of past “bad acts” that weren’t crimes but were part of prosecutors’ attempts to determine Kirby’s motive.

The Indiana Court of Appeals has already found that the evidence was appropriate and that any objections would have been overruled and could not have changed the outcome of the case.

Sonnega said Kirby can still appeal to state courts.

A message seeking comment from Kirby’s attorney, public defender Kathleen Cleary, was not immediately returned Thursday.

Louise Cossari, whose husband and their two teenage children died in the crash and has remarried, said she knows the case could drag on.

“So even though we have a victory now, the battle still may lie ahead. But for now, I can put this one to rest and enjoy each day I have with my wonderful family and friends,” she said.

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