Former Kentucky student acquitted of homicide in car crash that killed 4-year-old

Published 9:43 pm Friday, October 15, 2021

A former University of Kentucky student has been acquitted of a reckless homicide charge in a DUI crash that killed a 4-year-old child after a football game.

A jury deliberated about eight hours on Thursday night in Lexington before acquitting 21-year-old Jacob Heil of the homicide charge. Heil was convicted on a charge of driving under the influence during the crash that killed Marco Shemwell in 2018.

Attorneys for Heil argued during the trial this week that the crash was a tragic accident, and not a crime. Fayette Circuit Judge Lucy VanMeter imposed a $500 fine for the DUI charge, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported.

“Jacob Heil today got a tremendous gift from this jury, and I pray that he uses it wisely,” Commonwealth’s Attorney Lou Anna Red Corn said after the verdict Thursday night.

Heil’s blood-alcohol content was 0.038 after his arrest, according to a blood test. The legal limit for a driver under 21 is 0.02, and Heil was 18 at the time.

Marco’s family was leaving a University of Kentucky football game and was waiting to cross the street when he was hit by Heil. Heil’s attorneys argued that Heil wasn’t at fault for the crash because Marco was in the road.