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Stop-sign group challenges sentence

By Times staff writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 24, 2001

TAMPA -- Now that the most serious charges have been dropped, defendants in the stop-sign case plan to ask a circuit judge to reduce the sentence imposed on the single remaining charge against them.

Attorneys for Nissa Baillie, Christopher Cole and Thomas Miller will ask Circuit Judge Rex Barbas next month to consider the sentence reduction on a grand theft conviction for stealing traffic signs. They had been sentenced to five years' probation on the charge.

Originally, the three were charged with grand theft and manslaughter for pulling up a stop sign that led to a fatal car crash that killed three 18-year-olds in 1996. The trio admitted stealing signs in the area but not the stop sign that caused the crash.

The 2nd District Court of Appeal threw out the manslaughter conviction against them but upheld the grand theft conviction for taking traffic signs.

Barbas will hear an argument to reduce the sentence for grand theft at a hearing next month.

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