Jury Finds Man Guilty Of Negligent Homicide

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Robert L. Slover, 68 was found guilty Thursday on one count of negligent homicide and two counts of misdemeanor DUI, in the death of William D. Wardell, 66, of Payson.

Wardell was killed Nov. 6, 2004 when the pickup he and Slover were in went off Highway 260 near Little Green Valley, spun around and hit a tree.

DPS officers said they felt both men had been ejected through the rear window of the vehicle during the accident, because neither were wearing seat belts.

Wardell was found face down by a nearby creek. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Slover was flown to Maricopa Medical Center, in serious condition for treatment of various injuries.

"It has been a long time and a bucket of tears, waiting for this day," Mrs. Wardell said.

"We always knew he (Slover) was the driver, it was his truck they were in."

The trial began Sept. 18 and ended Sept 26, when the jury went into deliberations.

The following day, they returned a guilty verdict.

Wardell said the verdict brings some final closure to her husband's death.

Gila County prosecutor Patti Wortman said that prior to Slover being indicted, he had moved to Missouri.

When he was informed that he was under indictment in Arizona, Slover posted bond and returned on his own to stand trial, Wortman said.

At the time of the accident, police believed both men had been drinking. Slover told police at the scene that he was the passenger and Wardell had been the driver of the vehicle.

At the time of the accident, police suspected Slover had been the one driving.

Wardell said Wortman told her personally of the verdict.

"Wortman and her assistant came over to my house personally and gave me the jury's verdict, because I just couldn't go to the court myself, I was so afraid he was going to walk on this," Wardell said.

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