BY GALE M. BRADFORD

 

WEATHERFORD-Oct. 25, 2000 A hearing has been set for 3 p.m. Thursday at the Parker County District Court Building on the intoxication manslaughter cases pending against Rickey Carter, said Parker County District Attorney Don Schnebly.  Carter is accused in the Dec. 19, 1998 deaths of four Brock High School girls. Jury selection in his trial in the death of 16-year-old Staci Lee is set to begin Monday. Lee was the driver of the Nissan automobile that was struck head-on by a pickup driven by Carter whose blood alcohol level tested 0.16 after the tragedy, according to a Department of Public Safety account.  Killed were Lee, Mandi McWhorter, 15, Lacey Osina, 17 and Whitney Welch, 16.  Shortly after the hearing, beginning at 5 p.m. on the steps of the district court building, a service is scheduled to pray for justice for the girls and their families and for the Parker County District Attorney to do his job, said David Lee, father of Staci.  "The people of Parker County have come out and supported us unbelievably and I believe they will continue to do so,'' Lee said.  Schnebly and Assistant District Attorney Jeff Swain had requested that one jury hear all four cases but during an August pre-trial hearing defense attorneys announced they planned to exercise their right to sever the trials and that each one would be tried separately.  In August, visiting Judge Bob Gill was assigned to preside over the trials after visiting Judge Clifford Davis denied a change of venue motion presented by Carter's defense attorney Jerry Loftin earlier this year.  The Thursday hearing announcement is to be came as a surprise to the girls' families, though some said they have been in negotiations at after-hour meetings since Thursday while officials tried to come up with a plea bargain agreement they would find acceptable.  The families unanimously refused to accept the proposed plea agreements, said Liz Osina, mother of Lacey. David Lee, father of Staci, concurred.  "Mark (Osina) and I told Don and Jeff we were adamantly against accepting a plea that allowed that the deadly weapon finding would be waived and an agreement that the jury would be informed that all sentences would run concurrently versus consecutively.  With a deadly weapon finding, a prisoner is not eligible for parole until they serve 50 percent of their sentence.  For that finding to be waived for Carter is "not an option,'' said Osina.