Man charged with killing Deputy Chad Key set for trial

An earlier version of this article erred in the spelling of defense attorney Gaylon Riddels’ name.

Just a few months shy of a year ago, Grayson County Deputy Chad Key died in an collision that occurred while he worked traffic at a police incident on U.S. Highway 82 and Bethany Road just before 10:30 p.m. on April 20. The man who drove the vehicle that struck Deputy Key went on trial on murder and other charges Monday at the Grayson County Courthouse in Sherman.

Ricky Trent Stanley Jr., 29, of Whitesboro is represented in the trial by Gaylon Riddels and Keith Brown.

Grayson County District Attorney Joe Brown and his staff, along with the defense attorneys, picked jurors for the trial on Monday.

In his opening statement, Joe Brown told the eight men and four women in the jury box that Mr. Key had been doing his dream job for just 77 days when he died. Brown said Mr. Key had been a truck driver for a number of years but always yearned to be a peace officer. He started off working at the jail and went to the police academy at night to attain his goal.

The prosecutor told jurors Mr. Key left behind three sons ranging in age from 20 years to one month old and a wife. Brown said Mr. Key was standing in the roadway at U.S. Highway 82 and Bethany Road directing traffic when the F-350 driven by Stanley came through the intersection going way too fast and never really slowed down as he approached the flashing lights on patrol cars at the intersection. Brown said jurors would see the video of the scene as the truck Stanley was driving struck the 5-foot-8 inch officer who weighed 280 pounds and kept on going. Another officer jumped in a nearby car and chased Stanley for a mile, Brown said, before Stanley stopped the truck. Stanley told officers he never saw Mr. Key and didn’t know he had struck anyone.

The prosecution, Brown said, does not have to prove that Stanley intended to kill anyone when he decided that night to get into the truck after drinking at a friend’s party in Bonham. All they have to prove, Brown said, was that Stanley committed an act that was dangerous to human life while in the commission of a felony (driving while intoxicated) and that by doing so, caused the death of a peace officer. That, Brown said, will leave the jury plenty of room to find Stanley guilty of the top charge of the indictment which is felony murder.

Stanley had two prior driving while intoxicated convictions, Brown said, on the night he struck and killed Mr. Key.

Riddels reserved his opening statement for later in the trial. The case resumes Tuesday morning in the East Courtroom at the Grayson County Courthouse in Sherman.


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