(Viera, Florida) The Brevard County court room was at maximum capacity for the 9:00 am calendar call where it was announced that only the first 60 cases on the docket would be called today. Billy Lane sat among the many people waiting to hear if their case would be set for trial as a large group of attorneys waited for Judge Burger to enter the court room. Defense attorney Gregory Eisenmenger signed in just moments before the court was called to order, said hello to Billy, and then waited for his client’s name to be called.
Recently elected to the chair, Judge Robert Burger had inherited a massive overflow of lingering cases left undecided by previous Judge Meryl Allawas. Though Judge Burger made no formal announcement, he appeared determined to clear up the case load and stood firm on keeping a solid schedule to clear the docket of the older cases. As each case was called he explained to the parties that they needed to ready their case without any further postponement.
Billy Lane had been facing the single felony charge of DUI Manslaughter for over two years up until last month when a additional charge of vehicular homicide was filed. When the Judge called for the case of the State of Florida verses William Lane, defense attorney Eisenmenger stepped forward and made a surprise statement that he had resolved the case with the Sate and they were working on a plea. State Attorney Tom Brown stepped forward to acknowledge the plea bargain, but then both attorneys approached the bench and talked with the Judge for about 2 minutes.
It was not stated for the record what type of agreement had been made and there was no mention of when an official announcement might be heard. The next date posted for a hearing is on February 9th, but that date may be cancelled until the two parties reach their final agreement. I spoke with Byron Morelock by telephone and he confirmed that he would be involved in the agreement, but he was not able to give me any more specifics on dates or times either. He seemed to be relieved that the case is finally growing to an end, but stated that no mater the final outcome it will remain a sad fact that nobody wins in a case of this nature. Byron Morelock is the brother of Gerald Morelock who was the victim in this case. Gerald Morelock was killed back in September of 2006 when the Dodge pickup Billy Lane was driving struck him head on. Lane showed no emotion as the announcement was made and appears to have accepted the fact that he will not have to stand trial for the the two charges now that arrangements are being made that will decide his final fate in this case. While it was said that Lane could receive as much as 15 years in prison if convicted of either charge, the State Attorney had previously stated that a plea bargain would not be accepted for anything less than 10 years. Still, even after the announcement today, the exact amount of time still remains unknown.