Jennifer Fram, 25, may face murder charges after a drunk driving accident that took the life of her passenger, 26-year-old local musician Nicholas Markow.
Fram was denied bail on Thursday.
The murder charge stems apparently from the fact that Fram was already on probation for a prior DUI conviction. According to the report from the Press-Register, murder, in this instance, refers to an “extreme indifference to the value of human life.”
Fram’s friends and relatives were stunned by the decision. Allison Ball, Fram’s childhood friend, told the Press-Register that “I think she’s in complete shock. … She will learn her lesson. I don’t think she should go to jail for murder.”
Assistant District Attorney Jo Beth Murphree asserted on the contrary that Fram’s actions were “not a mistake,” contending that Fram was “well aware of what the consequences could be.” In addition, Murphree noted that Fram admitted to having consumed alcohol that evening.
However, importantly, the results of a blood test had not yet been received.
Authorities say that Fram’s vehicle left the road, hit a traffic sign, and collided with a pole. Neither Fram nor Markow were wearing seatbelts; Markow was ejected from the vehicle. Fram wore a neck brace at the bail hearing on Thursday.
It is crucial to note that the results of Fram’s blood test are still pending. Also, Fram has not yet hired a lawyer; another hearing was scheduled for Monday to enable her to find representation. It is not clear therefore whether Fram will seek a plea agreement or a trial. However, while Markow’s death was unquestionably a horrible tragedy, and while Fram apparently admitted that she had been drinking on the night of the accident, a murder charge—regardless of how one defines the term—seems excessive.