Abby Michaels was in court Wednesday for the first time since being indicted in July on six counts of murder, six counts of aggravated vehicular homicide and operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. She is accused in the March 17 wrong-way wreck on Interstate 75 in Moraine that killed three members of a Mason family. NICK BLIZZARD/STAFF

Defense for wrong-way driver in Mason family deaths needs more time

And in the coming weeks, her attorney said, the focus of the strategy in the defense of the 21-year-old former Xenia resident will become clearer.

Jay Adams said he has received hundreds of documents gathered by investigators during the four-month probe that resulted last month in Michaels’ indictments for the deaths of husband and wife Timmy and Karen Thompson and their 10-year-old daughter Tessa.

EARLIER: Ohio unveils way to curb wrong-way deaths; local driver faces murder charges

Michaels appeared before Montgomery County Common Pleas Judge Steven Dankof for about three minutes and did not speak.

And by the time she is scheduled to return to Dankof’s courtroom Aug. 28 on what the judge called “very serious charges,” Adams said he expects to file several documents on his client’s behalf.

“As is usual in criminal cases, pretrial motions that we’ll be filing and that next court date will be to set and establish hearing dates on those motions,” Adams said.

Adams declined to elaborate on what those filings may include.

RELATED: Estranged husband: Wife in deadly crash planned ‘to drive backwards on I-75’

Michaels was charged with six counts of murder, six counts of aggravated vehicular homicide and operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol in the March 17 crash on I-75 in Moraine.

County Prosecutor Mat Heck Jr. has said Michaels deliberately drove the wrong way northbound in the southbound lanes of I-75 after pulling over in an emergency U-Turn area on the highway.

Not guilty pleas have been entered for Michaels, who is being held on a $3 million bond in the Montgomery County Jail.

Dankof said he had “a fairly thorough discussion” with defense and prosecutors about the case. Adams said he has been receiving all of documents requested from prosecutors, but their sheer volume will require to sort out how he plans to pursue his client’s defense.

RELATED: 5 things to know about wrong-way crash murder case

Blood-alcohol tests show Michaels was above the legal limit, police records show, but Heck said that was not a factor in the wreck.

A statement from Michaels’ estranged husband on July 8 indicated she told him “I’m going to drive backwards on I-75” just minutes before the triple-fatal crash occurred, according to Moraine Police Division records.

Michaels’ husband said she called him about 8 p.m. March 17, and it appeared she had been drinking.

“Abby insisted on coming over,” he told police, according to records.

The call to her husband was made after Michaels saw friends at Miamisburg pizza restaurant, police records show. Michaels got to the restaurant around 6 p.m. and “seemed to be sober and seem to be in a good mood,” police records show.


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