November 22, 2010

Jim Leyritz reacts to manslaughter acquittal

Posted: 03:16 PM ET

Ft. Lauderdale, FL - In Session talks to Jim Leyritz moments after a jury of five men and one woman found the former World Series hero guilty of drunk driving, but acquitted him of a more serious charge of DUI manslaughter.

Leyritz, was charged with two counts of vehicular manslaughter while driving under the influence after a car collision in 2007 killed 30-year-old Fredia Veitch.

During the trial, the judge tossed out count one: DUI manslaughter based on impairment. He found insufficient evidence for this charge to go to the jury.  However, the judge did decide count two, DUI manslaughter based on Leyritz's blood alcohol content (BAC), would go to the jury.

Stay with In Session for all the latest updates on Jim Leyritz's sentencing! 

-Elizabeth Chmurak, In Session Associate Producer

Filed under: Trial Updates • Trials • Verdict!

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Beverly   November 22nd, 2010 6:31 pm ET

I have been watching the trial almost since the beginning. I did not even know who Jim was, but as I watched, I felt like he was getting the short end of the stick, so to speak. I am glad that the verdict was an aquittal, as he said nobody is a winner, he will live with these memories the rest of his life. I hope Fredia's family and friends can heal, maybe it never heals, but at least try to move on, as I hope Mr. Leyritz and his family can do the same. I lost a daughter in a car accident, you never really get over it, but the day will come when it is less painful. May God Bless everyone involved.

Jo   November 22nd, 2010 7:04 pm ET

I believe he's been through hell for 3 years, quit drinking altogether, had follow-ups to prove his non-drinking status, already served 18 days, and feels just horrible about the loss of life.

Putting him in jail for a first offense would be WRONG. Probation and community service (and time served) is sufficient (and allow him to move to Calif. to help get his life back together).

Don't hold it against him that he was a Yankee (even if you dislike the team as much as I do). John-Doe-common-citizen would not get more for a first offense.

Donna   November 23rd, 2010 12:12 am ET

Good for him. If ever there was a reasonable doubt, it is rampant throughout this case. I think he should have got off completely.

jtt   November 23rd, 2010 8:58 am ET

sad all around, neither one of them should have been driving in the first place!

4truth   November 23rd, 2010 10:21 am ET

Don't ignore the facts! He WAS STILL CONVICTED of misdemeanor DUI! The jury was most likely split on the felony charge and compromised on the lesser of the two. Not uncommon at all. Mr. Leyritz is GUILTY of a crime as judged by his peers. He can count his blessings that he got a FL jury tha didn't also convict him on the felony, which could easily and lawfully have happened.

Mindy   November 23rd, 2010 11:09 am ET

WOW, seriously disappointed here...he was guilty of a DUI, and then slammed into a woman, MOTHER OF 2, flipped her car, and killed her. REALLY?? Where's the question here? He was guilty!! You know if either you or I were to get arrested for a DUI and hitting and killing a woman, we'd be convicted of manslaughter. Why give the old worn out baseball player a totally different outcome?? Where's the justice for the woman's two children?? So, if I become a millionaire I can go out, drink, drive, kill people, do drugs, and worst I'll get is ohhhh maybe some community service? (Yes, I know there were no drugs involved in this case, I was just referencing past millionaires and other "famous" people) What kind of example are we setting for the kids?? "Oh, honey, once you become famous, or make a major league sports team, you can get away with murder. No worries, sweetie!" Wow!!

Amy   November 23rd, 2010 11:29 am ET

4truth I would hope any jury in this country would have been able to come to the same conclusion. This case was doomed from the very beginning. Faulty police work, terrible prosecutor and a real lack of understanding as to what really happened. As far as I am concerned although I do sympathize with the victim and her family, had she had her seat belt on she would almost certainly be alive. Once she chose to not only drink and drive, text and talk, and NOT wear a seat belt how on Earth is her death anyone's fault but her own. People need to start taking responsibility for their own lives and doing everything possible to keep themselves safe. I am a mother, a single mother at that, I have not driven a car nor rode in a car without a seat belt since the day my first child was born. SEAT BELTS SAVE LIVES people. Use them!!

MJB   November 23rd, 2010 2:13 pm ET

Hummm! guilty in a misdemeanor and paid th family off under a civil suit. I thought if not quilty in any way you wouldn't be paying anyone anything. He did run the red light. They both were drinking and doing whatever. Hopefully, he WILL stop drinking and driving. And of course she will not have to be worrying about that. Both at fault and hes more.

Deborah   November 23rd, 2010 2:55 pm ET

Everyone needs to take responsibility for their own actions and stop trying to blame someone else. Unfortunately, the victim made so many poor decisions she contributed to her own death. It is getting old hearing that she was a wonderful "mother of 2". She wasn't raising one of the children and how many "wonderful" mothers are out partying at 3 am? There ARE many wonderful mothers that are out there and they are teaching their children by setting a good example...wearing their seat belts, not texting and driving, not speeding, not drinking and driving, stopping at red lights, and spending as much time with all of their children as possible.

alma swanson   November 23rd, 2010 9:11 pm ET

I watched a lot of the trial. I do not think the prosecution did a very good job. However, I totally agree with the verdict.

jim   November 24th, 2010 2:51 am ET

i feel bad for both parties, but lets be honest. she was more drunk, she ran a red light....oh and she was texting. yes he is guilty of driving drunk, but the other party was just as guilty as causing this accident as well.

@Beverly (Jennifer)   November 24th, 2010 4:34 am ET

Beverly – I totally agree with your comment. Who cares if Leyrtiz is a Pro Athlete (ex). I watched the ENTIRE trial and then followed the live stream from CNN.
Had the jury been aware of all the facts, cell phone texting. Etc...and to me why is a mother out at a bar close to 3am w/several "male" friends? Her divorce papers from Jordan were in her car. And we all know garth henry gave his stmt as best as he could, and we know eye witness' are shotty at besy. These officers/investigstors did an awfrul job. I know if I were like ms viech w/ a 0.18, my husband would not try to get rebenge since she was cleary intoxicated, driving distracted and no seat belt. Its a tragic accident and mt vieth need not blame leyritz whem HE KNOWS his wife was in the wrong

Mandy Jones   November 24th, 2010 9:09 am ET

I am happy for the outcome of this case. I agree that he should have been aquitted of manslaughter and that he is quilty of drinking and driving. I do have one problem. The woman should also be found guilty of drinking and driving too. If you are going to drink, find a designated driver to take you home. Both drivers are guilty of drinking and driving and the woman is more at fault for not looking to see if the intersection was clear before going through it and for not wearing her seatbelt. I am angry that no one is blaming her in this case, this was an accident that should have never happend. It is common sense if you are going to drink DON'T DRIVE!!!

dano   November 24th, 2010 10:04 am ET

I wish that he could have gotten off completely. She could have killed him and his passenger.

I wish Jim and his family the best.

Rich Rollo   November 24th, 2010 1:18 pm ET

I hope good ole Jim continues to NOT drink.
He got off lucky this time!!

Berni   November 24th, 2010 3:23 pm ET

How magnanimous of Fredia Veitch's husband to ask for a compassionate ruling for Mr. Leyritz's sentence .... am I the only one who caught the fact that there were DIVORCE papers found in the automobile she was driving? Of course he could ask for a lenient sentence, he was getting out of the prospect of divorce and child support for years! And, call me crazy, but for all the comments, he didn't look like a grieving husband, 3 years later or 23 years. Had he still been in love with his wife he would have looked a little worse for the wear. The court proceedings took 3 years to end this, and he is going to get a good chunk of change from Mr. Leyritz, however,Mr. Leyritz looked more like a grieving spouse, than the spouse.

ccalhoun   November 27th, 2010 12:55 am ET

He was drunk, he was driving, he killed someone. Life without parole.

Sam   November 27th, 2010 3:42 pm ET

I'm tired of hearing "Poor Jim" this and that. The facts are he's a sloppy drunk whose had many run-ins with the law prior to this. I for one am sorry the jury let this killer off by confusing themselves with facts not in evidence, which the judge allowed them to hear and was the fault of a sloppy prosecution mistake.

We'll see him in the news again, I'm sure with a DUI charge somewhere in this country. I just pray to God that he doesn't kill another human being before he gets caught.

Don Brown   November 28th, 2010 3:15 pm ET

I believe pro athletes should be given a pass in cases like these. They can do more on the outside than in jail.

Jan   November 30th, 2010 12:05 pm ET

I totally agree with Amy – she put it all into words the jury should have heard.

Annette   November 30th, 2010 1:55 pm ET

Honestly I believe both parties involved are to blame. I might be the only person in the world who hasn't heard of Jim Leyritz, and take offence to him being called a hero because he played sports. A hero to me is someone who is willing to risk their life to save someone, a soldier, a fireman,a policeman, a total stranger who comes to the rescue of another. Pro Athletes are no better then you or I just because they have money, and are public figures, The laws apply to us all, sadly in this case nobody really wins.

Gail Snail   November 30th, 2010 1:56 pm ET

Money talks and Jim gets to walk. Pity the victim doesn't get to.

carissa shaw   December 2nd, 2010 9:57 am ET

i understand that a family is hurting because of the accident but it was his first offence. why give him a bigger charge just because he is famous? i hope the family heals. even if the tables have turned and it was my family i would still think the same thing. why give him a bigger charge? think about it. other ppl get time served and a fine, community service and even suspend his license for a year. he did not kill this woman on purpose. unlike the other case thats going on a man killed a family in their own home he deserves what they are trying to pin on this guy. accidents happen maybe god has a different plan for that family or maybe this will really help this guy get his life back in line. :) thats about all i have to say about this its just stupid.

carissa shaw   December 2nd, 2010 10:06 am ET

one more thing why was she out and drinking and driving and texting on her phone and running red lights be not being with her kids at 3 in the morning? what mother is that honestly? i dont know how ppl live their lives but i am a mother of 2, and at 3 in the morning the only place im going is to the next room to make sure my kids are ok not to a bar unlike this woman! she is just as much to blame so lets call out the real facts not just skip over hers because she lost her life. free this man let him continue his life!

Kathryn   December 2nd, 2010 1:02 pm ET

One more example of a so called " hero " getting away with, in this case MURDER. Nothing new, they were both guilty of DUI and one was guilty of murder. PERIOD He should go to jail but he won't because he is an athlete. People are forgetting that he drove drunk, this is against the law AND he killed someone! Would you want him driving by you? If he was such a great dad why was he out drinking and driving endangering himself and every body else! His children could be going through what the victims children are, what kind of father is that? He probably got his children because he had money and his wife didn't she should get them back because he is a murderer. There is no excuse for what he did and no amount of baseball money will bring the victim back or make her childrens life better without her. Once again I wish I could bet on him NOT doing anytime.

sherlene tucker   December 2nd, 2010 2:45 pm ET

mr veitch said that mr leyritz was seemed to be smiling and looking at him I never did see that out of mr leyritz he wa very emotional and very sad looking all during the trail and we have to remember he didn't have to pay the money to the family we all show greif in different ways and i do belive there are no winners for both sides of the family

Linda Bombolino   December 3rd, 2010 10:02 am ET

This was a fair verdict for a trajedy. The prosecution never proved its case. In this accident the victim was more responsible for the accident, & we know there is a call for punishment when someone dies. Jim payed for his part for the past 3 years. I now have respect for him, someone I knew little about before this trial.

Valerie Grover   December 3rd, 2010 10:16 am ET

I just saw Leyritzs speak saying that "After what he has gone through over the last three years..." How dare he speak so smug. I am disgusted that he is not going to jail. I knew Frieda, she was a beautiful soul that Leyritz never knew. I will continue to tell this story of injustice to anyone who will listen. He ran the red light. I don't care if she was texting or distracted, she had the "right of way." So according to this trial, if I am drunk twice the legal limit, run a red light and kill someone; will I get off too??? As long as my victim has alchohol in their system, or might be texting at the time; will I get off too?? I don't believe that an average citizens outcome would be the same. Thank the NY YANKEES Mr. Leyritzs and be thankful that this didn't happen in NY State because you would have done life in prison.

Marsha Maryniak   December 3rd, 2010 2:33 pm ET

Valerie, Sorry you lost a friend, but did you watch the same trial that I did? The evidence was OVERWHELMING that Frieda ran the red light. It took 6 jurors only 45 min. to come to that unanimous decision. 78% of the people who answered the poll found the verdict was correct. I have been a Phillies fan for more than 50 years and had to watch the Yankees beat us last year in the world series. I am not a Yankee fan, but I am a fan of the truth. The judge and jury got it right.

Valerie   December 3rd, 2010 2:44 pm ET

I have to correct my earlier statement regarding the red light. I guess it was proven that he did not run the red light. I still feel the same. He speaks about what he has gone through and it bothers me because what did he expect? The outcome was a death of a beautiful person. Period.

Va lady   December 20th, 2010 2:09 pm ET

Yes we know why he got off.

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