Driver to change plea in 2018 crash that killed newlyweds

Posted at 6:05 PM, Apr 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-08 15:47:05-04

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — An Idaho driver charged with veering onto a sidewalk and killing two newlyweds will change his plea to guilty, according to Payette County prosecutors.

Jason Verwer, 38, of Fruitland, is charged with two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of Matthew Parkinson, 23, and Amelia Parkinson, 17, on Jan. 24, 2018, in Fruitland.

Prosecution and defense attorneys at a pretrial conference Friday said a plea arrangement had been reached, the Idaho Statesman reported. Verwer was in court for the hearing.

The plea agreement calls for Verwer to plead guilty to both second-degree murder charges, said Payette County Prosecutor Ross Pittman after the hearing.

Pittman did not discuss terms of the deal. A change of plea hearing is scheduled for April 18. Second-degree murder carries a penalty of 10 years to life in prison and a $15,000 fine.

Verwer was driving on U.S. 95 in Fruitland when his car left the roadway and struck the couple. Investigators say they were knocked into the air and dragged into the parking lot of a seed store.

An Idaho State Police crash reconstructionist concluded from video that Verwer accelerated to about 62 mph (100 kph) as he hit the couple and that there was no evidence of braking.

Investigators at a preliminary hearing said they knew of no connection between Verwer and the Parkinsons.