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Yanez pleads guilty in crash

BY CORIANNE EGAN cegan@paducahsun.com

It was the same plea deal, with one major difference.

Edgar Yanez, a former Heath High School soccer standout who was charged with murder after a wreck killed a Paducah man, admitted Monday to driving the vehicle that took the life of Paducah Sun delivery driver Ezra Moffett on June 20, 2012. Yanez pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter, first-degree wanton endangerment and first-degree criminal mischief. Assault and driving under the influence charges were dismissed.

"This is a tragedy for the Moffett family, and it's a tragedy for the Yanez family as well," Yanez's attorney Andrew Coiner said. "He decided to take responsibility to spare both families from a trial."

Last September, McCracken Circuit Judge Tim Kaltenbach rejected a plea deal with the same terms because Yanez refused to take responsibility for the wreck.

Police had said Yanez was driving his Hummer H2 near the intersection of Blandville Road and Mayfield-Metropolis Road when he crashed head-on into the Sun delivery van, driven by Moffett, 34.

Defense attorneys were preparing to claim it wasn't Yanez who was driving, but was in fact his friend and passenger Manning Shaw. Shaw was not charged in the wreck, and his attorney, Jeremy Ian Smith, maintains that he was not the driver.

Moffett's family, along with Yanez' family, were present Monday in the courtroom. Neither commented on the proceedings, but Moffett's family said they would comment after the sentencing.

The commonwealth recommended a sentence of 10 years for second-degree manslaughter, along with five years for wanton endangerment and five years for first-degree criminal mischief. If accepted by Kaltenbach at the sentencing Feb. 25, Yanez would receive a 10-year sentence. The state requires inmates to serve 20 percent of that time before being eligible for parole, which equates to two years.

Yanez also agreed to pay restitution to the Moffett family for funeral expenses.

The teen is currently under home confinement, and will remain so until the sentencing.

Contact Corianne Egan, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8652 or follow @CoriEgan on Twitter.

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