Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Appeals court upholds dismissal of manslaughter charges against duck boat captain, company managers

The Eighth District Court of Appeals today upheld the U. S. District Court's dismissal of manslaughter charges against duck boat captain Kenneth McKee and managers Charles Baltzell and Curtis Lanham in connection with their roles in the 2018 accident on Table Rock Lake that killed 17 people.

State charges were dismissed against the three April 5, 2022 with Circuit Court Judge Alan Blankenship saying the court did not find probable cause that the three acted "recklessly" or "knowingly."

“This court feels great sadness for this needless loss of life, and the impact on the victims’ family and friends. However, because the court does not find sufficient evidence to support the mens rea or intent required for the charges at issue, as defined by Missouri law, the court dismisses each count against each defendant.”

In the federal indictment, prosecutors attempted to charge the three under admiralty law claiming Table Rock Lake could be considered navigable waters. The appellate agreed with the district court judge in rejecting that notion. 

Court Opinion

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