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Judge Rejects Attempt To Take Back Guilty Plea

August 13, 2014, 4:59 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

Judge Rejects Attempt To Take Back Guilty Plea
Tammy Kvasnicka


Four years after a deadly crime a repeat drunk driver tried to withdraw her guilty plea Wednesday.

Sioux Falls police arrested 32-year-old Tammy Kvasnicka in July of 2010 for driving drunk the wrong way down Interstate 229 and causing a head-on collision that killed 27-year-old Michael Xayavong.

Kvasnicka was convicted of manslaughter and vehicular homicide by a Minnehaha County jury in 2011 but she appealed the conviction and the South Dakota Supreme Court overturned it in 2013 because of inappropriate testimony.

Kvasnicka was scheduled to have her second trial last August but pleaded guilty just days before jury selection. On Wednesday she tried to take back that guilty plea; arguing she was under stress leading up to the trial.

Previous Coverage: Three Years Later Kvasnicka Admits To Deadly Crash

Kvasnicka said she entered guilty pleas to manslaughter and vehicular battery in August of 2013 out of 'fear.' She went on to say Wednesday that she has had second thoughts about the plea because the South Dakota Supreme Court ordered a second trial in her case and she never went through with it.

"I almost thought what was the point of all that if I was going to plead guilty? Why didn't I take that opportunity when the Supreme Court gave it to me?” Kvasnicka said from the witness stand Wednesday.

But the judge didn't buy it. Judge Robin Houwman said Kvasnicka's case does not meet the standards required to withdraw a guilty plea saying that the 32-year-old simply can't change her plea because she had a change of heart.

Deputy Minnehaha County State’s Attorney Ryan Sage is ready to move forward with the case as he now prepares for Kvasnicka's upcoming sentencing hearing.

"We will be happy for the victims in this case to be able to have some finality in this case and move on with their lives. We are just over four years from the date of this crash that this case is still pending," Sage.

Under the plea agreement Kvasnicka faces more than 37 years in prison.

Her sentencing will be scheduled in the next few months.

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