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Originally published May 19, 2010 at 7:36 PM | Page modified May 19, 2010 at 7:36 PM

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Seattle man, 27, charged with vehicular homicide

A Seattle man who police say struck and killed a bicyclist with his Porsche near Queen Anne Hill last summer has been charged with vehicular homicide.

Seattle Times staff reporter

A Seattle man who police say struck and killed a bicyclist with his car near Queen Anne Hill last summer has been charged with vehicular homicide.

John Dempsey Morris, 27, had just turned off Aurora Avenue North onto Dexter Way North shortly after 10 p.m. on July 1 when he struck John Leoni at nearly 65 mph, according to charging paperwork filed last week in King County Superior Court. Leoni, 35, died at the scene.

Morris told police that he had drunk about four beers earlier in the night, charging paperwork said. Seattle police found that his blood-alcohol level was below the legal limit of 0.08 percent.

Seattle police said that Morris' 1985 Porsche 944 Coupe struck Leoni in an unmarked crosswalk. Traffic investigators say if Morris had been traveling at 40 mph, the limit on Aurora Avenue North, he would have been able to stop in time to avoid the collision, according to court charging paperwork.

Morris has no prior criminal history. If convicted, he faces up to 20 months in prison.

Before his death, Leoni worked at Banchero Friends Services, a private nonprofit organization that works with developmentally disabled adults.

"He provided 24-hour in-home and out-of-home support and case management for adults who have developmental disabilities," said CaraLee Cook, executive director of the Seattle organization. "He was an excellent employee and passionate about his work. He was very well loved."

According to The Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper, Leoni grew up in Mentor, Ohio, and earned a bachelor's degree in history at the University of San Francisco and a master's in history at Case Western Reserve University.

Jennifer Sullivan: 206-464-8294 or jensullivan@seattletimes.com

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