The man accused of driving the vehicle that caused the death of 85-year-old J.D. Hacker, from injuries he sustained in the accident, appeared in court Friday morning.

Alfred Francis, 37, limped and moved slowly as he walked to take a seat with his lawyer for a scheduled preliminary hearing in Clay District Court under Judge Henria Bailey-Lewis.  

Francis’ attorney, public defender Jeremy Morgan, waived his client’s right to the hearing and now the case will be passed to the Clay Grand Jury.

Judge Lewis assigned a court date for June for Francis to answer an indictment, if one is returned by the grand jury.  He is currently facing a charge of manslaughter, but County Attorney Joe White says he expects the charge could be upgraded following the grand jury hearing.

An automatic not guilty plea is entered in the case as the felony charge will have to be heard in circuit court.  Francis also faces a host of traffic related charges including DUI as a result from the April 8thaccident on Ky. 66 near Big Creek Elementary.  Those charges too will be reviewed by the grand jury.

Francis’ attorney asked the judge if home incarceration would be considered as his client was under the care of home health for a hip surgery and knee replacement.

White immediately opposed the request and cited Francis past criminal history and the seriousness of the manslaughter charge made him a flight risk.

“He has several failure to appear in court charges from his past,” White told the court. “He only turned himself in on this case because television reports put so much heat on him, he had to.”

Morgan says his client did not know he had outstanding warrants stemming from the accident after his release from the hospital.

Judge Lewis denied the request and kept Francis’s bond at $75,000 cash only.  He will remain in the Clay County Detention Center.

Publisher, The Manchester Enterprise

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