James Blue’s attorneys seek dismissal of 3rd-degree murder charges in fatal Orono crash

Defense attorneys for the man charged in a crash in Orono last year that killed Mack Motzko and Sam Schuneman are seeking to have third-degree murder charges dismissed.

James Blue is charged with four counts of criminal vehicular homicide and two counts of third-degree murder in connection with the fatal July 24 crash.

Blue’s attorneys on Monday filed a motion to have the two third-degree murder charges removed, saying the state doesn’t have probable cause to believe Blue was in the state of mind required for third-degree murder.

According to a criminal complaint, Orono police responded to a crash near the 3100 block of North Shore Drive on July 24. Witnesses reported seeing a vehicle going 100 mph before it crashed.

Inside the crashed car, officers found Schuneman — who was later pronounced dead at the scene — and Motzko — who died at a hospital soon after. Motzko is the son of Gophers men’s hockey coach Bob Motzko. Blue was found ejected from the car and was taken to a hospital.

The complaint states hospital staff found THC gummies, crushed white pills and green capsules. Witnesses from the party told officers that Blue had been taking shots of liquor and consuming THC edibles. A blood draw determined Blue’s blood-alcohol level was 0.175, over twice the legal limit.

Blue’s trial is set to begin on April 18.