Deadly hit and run suspect appears in court

December 18, 2008 3:28:56 PM PST
A suspected drunk driver charged in a young girl's death went before a judge Thursday. And we learned what he was doing the day of the accident and why he won't be leaving jail anytime soon. ________________________________________
A fund has been created at the Cy-Fair Federal Credit Union in memory of Nicole Lalime to help the family with funeral expenses. Information on the fund
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Outside the courtroom packed with supporters, William and Valeree Lalime prepared to face the man accused of killing their daughter. It would be the first time they'd seen him since a notorious walk when he made a gesture to our camera.

"I saw that maybe there was a little part of him that was sad that he did something, but who knows if that was an act," said Valeree.

The hearing was only a few minutes long, but it revealed much more about the suspect, John Winne. We have already reported about a previous DWI and a charge of a terrorist threat. But on Thursday in court, prosecutors revealed a charge out of Louisiana, a felony warrant for possession of codeine and Xanax.

"The judge listened to that and ordered that he be held at no bond for at least the next 60 days," said Assistant Harris County DA Warren Diepraam.

Winne, a contract welder with Moffitt Heavy Haul, had reportedly just left work on Tuesday when, within a couple of hours, he allegedly struck 13-year-old Nicole 'Lilly' Lalime. The eighth-grader at Bleyl Middle School had just gotten off her bus in front of her home when authories say Winne ran a stop sign, struck the bus and then her. Authorities revealed Winne had a heavy dose of alcohol on his breath. Bloodwork is still pending.

"Drunk driving is a horrible thing to happen and it's a life," said Valeree.

Nicole's parents showed up at court Thursday with friends and neighbors to keep exposure on the case. The judge, based on Winne's priors, refused to grant a band. It's a victory this family hopes is the first of many in the name of their daughter.

"Adult or child, it's horrible," said Valeree. "But nobody should bury their own child."

The suspect is charged with intoxication manslaughter, but the DA's office is considering upgrading the charges. We made several attempts to reach the suspect's court-appointed attorney, but were not successful.

Winne is being held on intoxication manslaughter charges, which carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. But the DA's office says based on the previous DWI and the age of the victim, they're looking to upgrade the charges to felony murder.

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