Police say it was a suicide attempt by car. Instead, a Vermont couple and their unborn child ended up dead. Wednesday, Robert Dellinger, 53, was arraigned on two counts of manslaughter.
According to the New Hampshire attorney general's office, the victims were killed instantly when Dellinger's truck plowed into them. Wednesday, prosecutors told the court Dellinger did it on purpose.
Authorities say Dellinger was traveling south on Interstate 89 in Lebanon Saturday when he crossed the median and struck the victims' car head on. Police say Jason Timmons, 29, and Amanda Murphy, 24, of Wilder, were headed north-- literally in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Dellinger was hospitalized after the crash and was arrested Tuesday immediately after he was discharged.
Dellinger did not enter a plea at Wednesday's hearing, which was done by video conference. The judge ordered him to undergo a mental health evaluation before his next court hearing Dec. 19.
There was a strong showing from Dellinger's family in court and they have indicated they will be able to come up with the $250,000 bail Dellinger is being held on. He was also ordered to surrender his license and his passport and not leave the state of New Hampshire.
The victims were engaged to be married. And as we have reported, Amanda Murphy was eight months pregnant. But charges will not be filed in connection with the death of the unborn child.
"The law is very clear in New Hampshire that under the homicide statues, you have to cause the death of another. And the Legislature has defined another not to include a fetus, so it requires there is a life birth rule in New Hampshire," N.H. Assistant Attorney General Susan Morrell said.
If convicted on the two counts of manslaughter Dellinger faces, he could spend 30-60 years behind bars. Prosecutors told the court that because of his age that would essentially amount to a life sentence.
Dellinger's family left the court and did not speak to the press. The victims' families also declined comment.
A candlelight vigil is being held in Wilder tonight for the victims.