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Man ordered to pay funeral expenses
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A judge ordered a man convicted in a 2004 vehicular homicide to continue to pay restitution to the family, even though it had been canceled at the end of his probation for the crime.

When Dean Ross Ray was convicted of vehicular homicide in 2004, he was ordered to pay restitution of a little over $11,000 to the victim's family for funeral expenses. But a glitch in his probation had that restitution expunged with roughly $8,000 still owed to them. According to Newton County Superior Court Judge Horace Johnson Jr., that order will be amended and Ray will be ordered to continue to pay the family of his victim.

Ray entered a guilty plea in the case, which charged him with not only vehicular homicide, but also driving under the influence, failure to obey authorized person directing traffic, failure to yield right of way, operation of a commercial vehicle without valid license, defective equipment and no insurance. He was ordered to pay various fines and fees and to be placed on probation.

After having paid roughly $3,000 to the victim's family, Ray's probation ended and without notifying the District Attorney's Office or the judge, the $8,000 owed was expunged, along with various fines and fees still owed to them that Ray had not been able to pay during his probation. Chief Assistant District Attorney Anne Kurtz argued that the order should be rendered void.

Ray's attorney Harger Hoyt told the judge that Ray had suffered medical issues immediately following the sentence and had been unable to work because of these issues.

"Mr. Ray had plenty of money to hire an attorney," quipped Kurtz. "...My issue is that I have a family here with a deceased son and all the restitution was for his funeral expenses."

"This obligation isn't the state's," said Judge Johnson. The fines can be excused but I have a problem with the restitution... I'm not wiping that off... We're going to fix this now."

Johnson ordered Kurtz and Hoyt to come up with an amendment and present it to him. When Hoyt argued that insurance had already paid the victim's family, Johnson informed him that was a civil matter, not a criminal one.