In provincial court in Harbour Grace Monday, Robert King of Bay Roberts entered guilty pleas to counts of criminal negligence/street racing causing death and dangerous driving causing bodily harm.
The 32-year-old, who is represented by St. John’s lawyer Catherine Boyde, is due back in court Oct. 5, at which time the facts of the case will be presented. King will then return to court again Nov. 16 for sentencing submissions after a pre-sentence report has been completed.
Meanwhile, King’s co-accused, Steven Ryan Mercer of Upper Island Cove, wasn’t in the courtroom when his case was called. Instead, he was represented by Jon Noonan, who was filling in for Mercer’s lawyer Randy Piercey and appeared via phone link from St. John’s.
Noonan told the judge that Mercer — who has pleaded not guilty to charges — has re-elected to have his trial held at Newfoundland Supreme Court in St. John’s. He’s scheduled to be there Oct. 2 for be arraigned.
Thorne, of New Harbour, was a passenger in a vehicle with her grandmother when they collided with another vehicle King was reportedly driving on July 7, 2016, on the New Harbour Barrens.
Thorne was killed, while her grandmother was seriously injured. Police allege King and Mercer were street racing at the time.