Authorities have upgraded charges against an Alabama neurosurgeon accused of killing a medical student over the summer from manslaughter to murder.
On Aug. 2 just after midnight, Dr. Jonathan Nakhla was allegedly drunk driving in Mobile and his Audi sports car data recorder clocked him going at speeds reaching 138 m.p.h. shortly before he crashed on a service road, killing his passenger, medical student Samantha Thomas.
Defense attorneys have argued the data is not reliable.
According to an investigator’s testimony during a probable cause hearing, surveillance video from the apartment complex where both Nakhla and Thomas resided allegedly shows the two had been drinking poolside before the accident, WKRG reported.
The investigator claimed Nakhla told him he and the Thomas decided to go to a fast-food restaurant for ice cream and the video allegedly shows the pair leaving the complex at 12:36 a.m. — about five minutes before the deadly crash.
Nakhla was originally released on $200,000 bail and charged with manslaughter. The case, however, was presented to a grand jury, and his charge was upgraded to murder.
The grand jury, the indictment states, found Nakhla “did recklessly engage in conduct which manifested extreme indifference to human life and created a grave risk of death to a person other than the said Jonathan Pishoi Nakhla.”
Nakhla has been let go from his neurosurgeon position at Mobile Infirmary due to the felony charge, and he faces a wrongful death lawsuit Thomas’ father has filed against him.
If convicted of murder, Nakhla could be sentenced to serve up to life behind bars.