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LEESBURG, Va. — Jurors in the involuntary manslaughter and reckless driving trial of John Miller IV will not be brought to the intersection where 5-month-old Tristan Schulz died after being struck by Miller’s SUV.
Prosecutors allege Miller’s inattention and actions behind the wheel led him to hit Schulz Aug. 31, 2016, as his mother, Mindy, pushed his stroller across Riverside Parkway at Coton Manor Drive.
Miller’s lawyers have not challenged he struck the pair, but has called the incident “a tragic accident.”
Mindy Schulz was seriously injured, but has recovered.
Loudoun County Circuit Court Judge Douglas Fleming denied a motion from prosecutors to transport jurors to the Lansdowne intersection during Miller’s trial, which is scheduled to begin Oct. 10.
Last week, prosecutor Sean Morgan said transporting jurors to the site would help them visualize the eyewitness testimony of 14 people who will likely testify for the commonwealth.
Defense attorneys Steven Webster and Aaron Book argued that a sign, reading “Drive safely in memory of Tristan Beckett Schulz,” approved by the Virginia Department of Transportation, would prejudice jurors.
In addition, defense lawyers said having jurors stand in the intersection would not provide the same perspective Miller had behind the wheel that day.
The defense suggested that the pillar between his driver’s side window and the windshield obscured his view, contributing to the crash.
In court filings, at least one eyewitness for the prosecution said Miller appeared to be looking at his phone at the time the boy was struck.
Miller is charged with involuntary manslaughter, reckless driving and failure to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk.
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