NORTH HAVERHILL, N.H. (AP) — A former Fortune 500 executive who killed a pregnant woman and her fiance when he swerved his truck across a highway median in a botched suicide attempt will plead guilty to negligent homicide, his attorney said Wednesday.
Robert Dellinger, 54, of Sunapee, New Hampshire, was initially charged with manslaughter for the deaths of Amanda Murphy, 24, and Jason Timmons, 29, both of Wilder, in the December 2013 crash. Murphy was eight months pregnant, and Dellinger was also charged with second-degree assault in the death of the fetus.
He told investigators he was trying to kill himself when he steered his pickup across an empty median on Interstate 89 in Lebanon. The truck went airborne, shearing off the top of the couple's SUV. Dellinger survived with only cuts and bruises.
The charges against him were later increased to second-degree murder. He pleaded not guilty and has been held without bail. A plea hearing is set for 9 a.m. Thursday.
Dellinger was a senior vice president and chief financial officer at PPG Industries Inc. when he left in 2011 because of health problems. He also held high-level posts at Sprint Corp., Delphi Corp. and General Electric Co.
His lawyer, Peter Decato, said a conviction on negligent homicide, a less serious charge then manslaughter or murder, carries a prison sentence of up to seven years. He noted other variables including Dellinger's guilty plea in the death of the fetus could be factored into sentencing.
"He's accepted this as a result or else he wouldn't sign that notice of intent to plead guilty," Decato said. "It appears to be a provident agreement."
New Hampshire Senior Assistant Attorney General Susan Morrell said in court in 2013 that Dellinger had argued with his wife over his medications on the morning of the crash, left the house and began to drive around, growing increasingly despondent.
The part of the median Dellinger chose to plow into, she said, had no trees, rocks or other obstacles.
"He could have chosen many other ways to kill himself that would not put anyone else in danger," she said.