Broward County

Trial Begins for Man Accused in 2012 Broward Cyclist Deaths

It's been three years since the death of two cyclists killed in a police chase hit-and-run in Cooper City. The accused killer behind the wheel faced a judge in Broward County Tuesday.

Two men were out for their usual Sunday morning bike ride when a car came pummeling down the street, killing them instantly. The man driving that car appeared in court to find out his fate.

Obrian Oakley quietly listened to prosecutors describe the fateful morning of Aug. 5, 2012, when he was arrested for a burglary that sparked a police chase and ended with the deaths of two bicyclists.

"Mr. McConnell and Mr. Amelkin never made it back home," said Prosecutor Al Rivas.

60-year-old Dean Amelkin and 61-year-old Christopher McConnell were run down on their bikes and killed.

According to arrest reports, Oakley and his friend, Sadik Baxter, were accused of breaking into cars and homes in Cooper City. Witnesses took the stand saying they noticed the men burglarizing vehicles and called police. Cops tracked down Oakley in a Grey Infiniti and started a long chase.

Prosecutors said Oakley eventually blew through a red light and ended up hitting a Corolla. He spun out of control, slamming into the bikers on Palm Avenue and Sheridan Street.

"The front passenger side hood area takes out Mr. McConnell. How do we know that? Mr. McConnell's DNA is on that hood," Rivas explained.

After crashing, Oakley then fled on foot and hid, causing a massive manhunt until police tracked him down. Defense attorneys argue that he shouldn't be charged with first degree murder. They also said it was Baxter, not Oakley, who committed the burglary.

"You will see him beginning to cover for a friend. He says, 'If I had known he was going to do the burglaries, I wouldn't have been there,'" a defense attorney said.

Oakley is now facing a host of charges: First degree murder, vehicular homicide, failure to render aid, aggravated fleeing and burglary.

The victims' family members teared up in the courtroom as they remembered the tragic day they lost their loved ones.

The trial will pick up again on Wednesday. The jury will have to listen to more evidence and testimony before they reach their verdict.

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