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Drunken driver’s mom jailed for laughing as fatal crash victim’s family speaks in court

Published: Wednesday, March 01, 2017 @ 1:01 PM
Updated: Wednesday, March 01, 2017 @ 1:01 PM

A Michigan judge last week jailed the mother of a drunken driver for laughing as the victim’s grieving family spoke about the impact his death has had on their lives.

Amanda Marie Kosal, 26, of Redford Township, cried quietly in Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Qiana Lillard’s courtroom on Thursday, as she listened to Jerome Zirker’s sister talk about her brother, who Kosal killed in a drunken driving crash last June.

Kosal’s mother, Donna Kosal, and an unidentified man with her smiled and laughed as they sat in the back of the courtroom, according to WDIV Local 4 News in Detroit. Lillard, who heard their laughter, paused the Zirker family’s victim impact statements to address the behavior.

“It's time for him to go,” Lillard said during the dressing down, which was recorded by the news station and posted to its Facebook page. “And I don't know who he is, but whoever can sit here at a tragic moment like this and laugh and smile when somebody has lost a family member…. In the entire time that Mr. Zirker's sister was speaking, that clown -- and that's what I am going to call him, a clown -- was sitting there smiling and laughing.”

She then addressed Donna Kosal.

“And you can go, too. Because if you don't know how to act, you can go to jail,” Lillard said. “So leave. Anybody that can sit there and laugh and smirk….”

She tells a court officer to “take her, she’s going in the back.”

“Anybody else want to go?” Lillard asked the other people in the courtroom supporting Amanda Kosal. “You can go, too. This is a court of law. And these are very serious matters. I understand that you all are very upset because your loved one is going to prison, but guess what? She's going to prison for the choices that she made. These people are here, grieving, saddened because a senseless act took away their loved one, and you all are sitting around here like it's a joke?”

“Not in courtroom 502. Not today and not any other day.”


VIDEO: Judge removes 2 people, calls them clowns during local woman's sentencing for deadly DUI crash:

Posted by WDIV Local 4 / ClickOnDetroit on Thursday, February 23, 2017

Lillard told Donna Kosal she was going to jail for 93 days for criminal contempt as a court officer escorted her out.

The judge’s Facebook page was inundated with praise and support after news of her actions went public. She thanked people for visiting the page and expressing their feelings and assured them that, although she could not respond to each person individually, she had read all of their comments.  

“I am honored to have the privilege of serving the citizens of Wayne County,” Lillard wrote.

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to visit this page to express your feelings. I am honored to have the...

Posted by Judge Qiana Denise Lillard on Saturday, February 25, 2017

WDIV reported that a tearful Donna Kosal apologized at a hearing before Lillard the following morning.

“I deeply apologize for what I did,” Donna Kosal said, according to the news station. “I was under a lot of stress.”

The judge amended her sentence to one day, with time served, and ordered that she be released from jail.

“What you have to understand is, as hard as this is for you to see your baby going to prison, imagine what that family feels like when their child is dead,” Lillard told Donna Kosal. “I hope that you learned a valuable lesson from this.”

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Amanda Kosal was sentenced on Thursday to three to 15 years in prison for the June 23, 2016, crash that killed Zirker, 31, and seriously injured his fiancée. WDIV reported that Kisal admitted she was drunk when the pickup truck she was driving crossed the center line and struck the SUV carrying Zirker and Brittany Johnson, 31, of Inkster.

Kosal pleaded guilty to operating under the influence causing death.

Johnson, who is now a single mother to the couple’s five children, told the news station that Zirker had just picked her up from her job as a caregiver at a group home when the fatal crash occurred. The children were usually with their father when he picked her up, she said.

“Luckily, they were at grandma’s house, or it would have been all of us,” Johnson told WDIV.

Zirker’s mother, Rathel Fizer, told the news station that she would rather see Amanda Kosal free and working to help support her son’s children, since he no longer can.

“If she goes to prison or jail, I’m taking care of her,” Fizer said. “I don’t want her to mail a check. I want her to hand-deliver it to them so she can see the faces that she destroyed.”

Police: Florida father flashing gun in front of child on Facebook Live arrested

Published: Saturday, June 24, 2017 @ 9:52 AM

Jakeeco Milton

The man seen on Facebook Live posing with a gun and what appears to be drugs in front of his child is now in jail, police said.

Jakeeco Milton, 25, was arrested Thursday for violation of probation.

ActionNewsJax first showed the Facebook Live video of Milton posing with a gun in front of his child on Wednesday.

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Milton is behind bars after police say he violated his probation. It comes after he posted a Facebook Live video, in which he is seen with a gun and possibly drugs in front of his child.

Family members told ActionNewsJax they are happy Milton is locked up. Court records show he has felony convictions for resisting an officer and battery in a detention facility. He and the child’s mother have four children together and one on the way. Family members said the couple and the kids bounce around from motel to motel.

Both the State Attorney’s Office and the Florida Department of Children and Families are investigating the incident. 

Middletown man crashes into deputy cruiser, admits to drug use

Published: Saturday, June 24, 2017 @ 9:03 AM

Staff file photo

A Middletown man is believed to have been on drugs when he crashed into an Ohio State Highway Patrol cruiser Saturday morning.

The crash occured when Adam Danner, of Middletown, ran a red light at the intersection of Grand Avenue and Breiel Boulevard and struck the deputy cruiser around 4:20 a.m. 

According to a release from the Ohio State Highway Patrol, the impact sent the cruiser into the opposite lane of traffic and into a southbound truck. 

The trooper and pickup truck driver were treated at the scene, while Danner was taken to Atrium Medical Center with minor injuries. 

Deputies said while in the hospital, Danner admitted to using drugs before driving.

The crash remains under investigation by the Ohio State Highway Patrol, according to the release.

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Indefinite suspension recommended for Troy lawyer

Published: Friday, June 23, 2017 @ 3:45 PM

            A review board of the Ohio Supreme Court has recommended that convicted Troy lawyer Chris Bucio receive an indefinite suspension. Bucio, 38, was convicted last November of unauthorized use of property involving land obtained for fees from a Shelby County client. FILE PHOTO
            Sara C. Tobias

The Board of Professional Conduct of the Supreme Court of Ohio has recommended an indefinite suspension from the practice of law in the state for Troy lawyer Christopher Bucio.

»RELATED: Troy attorney suspended from practicing law

Paperwork filed with the Ohio Supreme Court this week states neither Bucio or the court’s Disciplinary Counsel would file objections to the board’s recommendations for action by the Ohio Supreme Court. The court could adopt the recommendation or could impose a more severe or less severe discipline.

»RELATED: Troy attorney admits to committing illegal acts in handling court case

Bucio, 38, was convicted in November of unauthorized use of property involving land obtained for fees from a Shelby County client. He was sentenced in January to five years of community control and a $5,000 fine.

Bucio was accused of taking 22 acres of farm land from the woman in payment for legal representation in 2010, selling the land and keeping the proceeds. The woman was paid restitution just before Bucio’s sentencing.


In a report of its findings and recommendation, the Board of Professional Conduct stated it voted to modify a disciplinary hearing panel recommendation of a two-year suspension from practice of law with one year stayed. The modification was to recommend an indefinite suspension with no petition for reinstatement until Bucio completes successfully or is released from community control ordered in the criminal case.

The judge in the criminal case ordered five years of community control.

The tougher sanction was recommended because of findings that Bucio “did not demonstrate true remorse” for his actions and “the significant financial harm (to the property owner/client), who was required to initiate civil litigation to recover her portion of the sale proceeds and who was not fully repaid by (Bucio) for more than six years, and then only on the eve of his criminal sentencing hearing…”, the board stated.

The court documents state Bucio paid the property owner $97,767 from the property proceeds as part of a settlement agreement. The documents state Bucio acknowledged he earned $9,000 from representing the woman.

He was found in violation of rules of professional conduct including failing to keep the client reasonably informed about the state of the case; failing to respond to client inquiries and canceling multiple meetings she had scheduled; entering into an agreement for property without fully disclosing terms for the acquisition, failing to advise the owner to seek legal counsel and failing to obtain informed consent to agreement terms; and engaging in an illegal act that reflected adversely on his honesty and trustworthiness.

Mistrial declared in Ray Tensing murder case

Published: Friday, June 23, 2017 @ 2:14 PM

A judge declared a mistrial in the Ray Tensing murder trial.

UPDATE @ 2:15 p.m.

The judge in the Ray Tensing murder trial has declared a mistrial due to a hung jury after 30 hours of deliberations.

PAST COVERAGE: Judge issues gag order in Tensing’s trial

The jury of nine women and three men couldn’t agree on verdicts of murder or voluntary manslaughter.

The Hamilton County jury had deliberated some 30 hours over five days after getting the case Monday. Then-University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing shot 43-year-old Sam DuBose in the head after pulling him over for a missing front license plate on July 19, 2015.  

The 27-year-old Tensing testified he feared he was going to be killed. Prosecutors said repeatedly the evidence contradicted Tensing's story.  

PAST COVERAGE: Prosecutor Joe Deters no longer assigned to Ray Tensing case

His first trial ended in a mistrial.  

The shooting is among those across the nation that have raised attention to how police deal with blacks.

FIRST REPORT 9 a.m. Friday:

Deliberations in the second trial of a white former University of Cincinnati police officer who shot unarmed black motorist Sam Dubose have gone on longer than in his first trial. 

Jurors in Ray Tensing's murder retrial will get back at it Friday, their fifth day. They've deliberated nearly 26 hours, compared to 25 hours over four days before a November mistrial was declared.  

The Hamilton County court administrator says the jury asked a question Thursday, and the judge sent an answer after meeting with attorneys. The question wasn't made public.