SAND SPRINGS, Okla. — Steven Wade Jameson entered a plea to a reduced charge Monday, nearly 13 years after a crash killed a family of three in Sand Springs.
Jameson pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree manslaughter Monday, versus the three first-degree manslaughter charges he pleaded guilty to in 2011. He served four years of a 24-year prison sentence before Tulsa County Judge James Caputo vacated his sentence and allowed him to withdraw his original plea.
On December 24, 2009, Jameson crossed the center line on State Highway 51 west of Sand Springs and hit another car head-on, killing Angela and Michael Mulanax and their son, James. Evidence showed Jameson was speeding in poor weather conditions and had marijuana in his system at the time of the crash.
“After 13 years, the case against Steven Wade Jameson has finally come to a close,” said Tulsa County Assistant District Attorney Matt Kehoe. “This case is an example of how our office will continue to fight for justice, no matter how long it takes. Despite the public’s continued focus on Mr. Jameson and his legal plight, the focus should instead be on Angela, Michael and James Mulanax and their respective families, the true victims in this case. We hope this conclusion brings closure to them.”
As part of the plea agreement, Jameson waived his appellate and post-conviction rights, which means all of his appeals are now exhausted.
“We felt this plea agreement was the best possible resolution given the age of the case, evidentiary issues that arose in the past 13 years, and the potential for issues to be litigated, which would likely have resulted in the continuance of a jury trial,” Kehoe said. “The ultimate goal was to hold Mr. Jameson accountable and secure a felony conviction for his reckless actions.”
Jameson was sentenced to four years in the Oklahoma Department of Corrections and was given credit for time served, meaning he will remain out of jail.
Jameson released a statement in conjunction with his attorneys following the announcement of the plea deal:
“On December 24, 2009, three members of the Mulanax family were killed in an automobile accident when my vehicle collided with theirs on an icy bridge. To the family and friends of Michael, Angela, and James: I am truly sorry and hope to convey to you my sincere sadness and heartfelt regret for the loss of their lives. I cannot put into words the sadness and despair that day has caused. I think of their lives and the horrible accident that caused their deaths every day. I humbly acknowledge that it is incomparable to your suffering. Please know that I am grateful to those of you who have been able to forgive me and have reached out to me over the last 13 years.
The collision occurred when I was 20 years old, traveling from college in Stillwater to my mother’s home in Tulsa. Following the accident, I faced criminal prosecution for 3 counts of first-degree manslaughter. My attorney at the time told me that the case was indefensible based upon the State’s theory that my driver’s license was canceled at the time of the collision. I relied on my attorney’s advice and entered a blind plea. In 2011, I received a sentence for each count totaling 48 years. I was remanded to prison, where I believed I would remain for the rest of my life.
Ed and Barbara Townsend followed the local news the evening my sentence was reported. The Townsends did not know me, but they felt compelled to understand how the sentencing result could occur from a traffic accident. After learning more about the circumstances of the accident, the Townsends were moved to learn more details.
In 2014, the Townsends reached out to Clark Brewster and asked him to review my case. Upon review of the publicly-available filings and a brief review of the facts reported by the media, Mr. Brewster found what no one (not the District Attorney, the Court, nor my previous defense attorney) took the time to discover – that the cancellation of my driver’s license was the product of a court clerk’s mistake.
The Brewster & DeAngelis law firm, through Katie Arnold McDaniel and Clark Brewster, agreed to represent me conditioned upon their insistence that all services would be at no charge. A suit was filed in Payne County to judicially confirm the driver’s license cancellation was contrary to law and void. In 2015, the District Judge ordered the cancellation void and the ruling was affirmed on appeal. That same year, while I remained in prison, I obtained a Bachelor of Art’s degree in Business Administration and General Business, graduating summa cum laude. I knew then that I wanted to be a lawyer to help others have the hope that Clark and Katie gave me.
A post-conviction proceeding was filed in my case in Tulsa County. After serving 5 years in the penitentiary, I was judicially granted the right to withdraw the blind plea and my convictions were vacated. I was released on bond as the prosecution continued. While on bond, I have continued working toward my goal of becoming a lawyer. I studied for, and took, the Law School Admission Test (“LSAT”) and began volunteering with the Tulsa County Public Defender’s Office. I have been employed full-time assisting public defenders in representing indigent clients accused of crimes. I have worked hard to demonstrate sincere contrition through service to others.
Today, I entered a consensual plea to a reduced charge of second-degree manslaughter. Although my plea brings finality to the criminal prosecution, the consequences of the accident do not end. I intend to spend the rest of my life paying forward the trust and grace extended to me. To Ed and Barbara Townsend, Clark Brewster, Katie Arnold McDaniel, and many, many others: Thank you for your support and selfless generosity.”
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