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Judge Denies Change Of Plea Request

August 13, 2014, 11:53 AM by Ben Dunsmoor

Judge Denies Change Of Plea Request
Tammy Kvasnicka


A Sioux Falls judge has denied 32-year-old Tammy Kvasnicka’s request to withdraw her guilty plea.

Kvasnicka was arrested four years ago after driving drunk the wrong way on Interstate 229, hitting a car and killing 27-year-old Michael Xayavong.

Last August, Kvasnicka pleaded guilty to manslaughter and vehicular battery for her involvement in the crash.  But on Wednesday, she asked if she could withdraw that plea before she is sentenced for the crime.

Kvasnicka said that she wanted to change her plea because she was acting 'out of fear instead of considering the facts,' when she pleaded guilty last August.

The repeat drunk driver has already been convicted once of manslaughter and vehicular homicide for the July 2010 crash. She appealed that conviction to the South Dakota Supreme Court and the justices overturned it because a police officer inappropriately testified that the impact of the crash was like the force of 900 handguns going off at the same time. Kvasnicka pleaded guilty shortly before her second trial was scheduled last August.

Judge Robin Houwman denied the motion Wednesday because she says Kvasnicka can't change her plea simply because she's had a change of heart.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
A misspelling was corrected in this story.

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