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Okie court action puts Heinen back on the roads

By Stephanie Parker

Immediately after being acquitted on a charge of intoxication manslaughter, John Heinen was extradited to Oklahoma to stand trial on three counts of driving while intoxicated.

The October 2008 Fredericksburg jury that found John Ivan Heinen not guilty in the intoxication manslaughter death of his brother, Joe Heinen, was not privy to information from Oklahoma regarding three pending driving while intoxicated charges in that state.

During the trial, the eight men-four women jury panel from Fredericksburg, where the trial had been moved on a change of venue, relied on flawed and missing evidence to reach their verdict. That evidence failed to put Heinen behind the wheel of the pickup truck registered to him at the time of the April 1, 2007 accident on King’s Ranch Road that resulted in his brother’s death.

Jurors never heard that John Heinen was arrested in Beckham County, Okla. in December 2005 and charged with felony driving under the influence (DUI) driving with a suspended driver’s license and having an open container in the vehicle. He pled guilty and received a three-year deferred sentence, meaning that if he racked up no further charges for those three years, his record would be expunged.

Had Heinen been found guilty in the Fredericksburg trial in October, the trio of Oklahoma DUI arrests would have been revealed during the sentencing phase of the trial.

Heinen was arrested again on Sept. 18, 2006, in Beckham County, and charged with felony DUI and driving while his license was suspended. That arrest negated the deferred adjudication and accelerated the sentence.

Heinen was arrested a third time for DUI and driving while his license was suspended on Jan. 27, 2007.

Heinen then returned to Bandera where, on April 1, 2007, he and his brother were involved in an alcohol-related truck crash in which Joe died of massive head injuries.

After being acquitted by the Fredericksburg jury, Heinen was extradited to Oklahoma where he pled guilty to the Beckham County charges on Nov. 5, 2008, and received three five-year suspended sentences and three 90-day jail confinement sentences to run concurrently. He was also ordered to pay court fines, a $50 victim’s fee for each DUI and a $150 fine for each DUI. Additionally, Heinen was ordered to pay a $100 fine for each of the three charges of driving while his license was suspended.

However, he could be out of jail soon and headed down the road again.