After two days testimony jury to decide sentence of man who killed Orange County couple in DWI crash

On Thursday morning a jury will hear closing arguments and decide punishment for Travis Collins, 30, who pleaded guilty in the deaths of Riley Portie, 54, and his wife, Emily, 50.

ORANGE - A high profile intoxication manslaughter case in Orange County is one step closer to being handed over to jurors to decide the punishment for a man who killed a couple on a motorcycle.

On Thursday morning a jury will hear closing arguments and decide punishment for Travis Collins, 30, who pleaded guilty in the deaths of Riley Portie, 54, and his wife, Emily, 50.

Police say Collins was drunk and speeding on the night in May 2015 when he rammed his pickup truck into the back of the Portie's motorcycle at the intersection of West Park Avenue and 12th Street in Orange.

Testimony from Donald Nance who specializes in analyzing crash scene data revealed that the Dodge Truck Collins was driving was going 98 miles per hour just seconds before the collision.

Video footage from an interview between Collins and an officer was also shown to the jury.

The state rested its case after calling a dozen witnesses to the stand. The defense rested its case after hearing seven witnesses testify around 4 p.m.

The last witness to take the stand Wednesday was Collins’ wife, Nicol Collins, who was visibly upset on the stand as she told jurors the accident had taken a toll on her husband and that hasn’t been the same since. She explained that her husband is not the same anymore and can’t find himself.

Collins mentioned that a family member of the Porties reached out to her after the accident by sending her a note.

She told jurors she responded in a Facebook message telling the family she was sorry for their loss. She read the message out loud to the jury.

“I’m very sorry for your loss our family sends our condolence we appreciate you contacting my husband he has been through a very hard time dealing with all that has happened,” read Nicole Collins.

Family members in the courtroom Wednesday told 12News that she reached out to a distant family member and were upset that she never reached out to them.

Earlier in the day when Travis Collins took the stand he seemed confused about the events taking place before the accident.

He told the jury he didn’t remember the night of the accident but would then answer questions about how thought he remembered drinking gin and beer.

He testified he did not remember speeding or going airborne in his truck. However, he told the jury he remembered getting out of his truck and seeing two bodies underneath the vehicle.

Collins also told the prosecutor that his license was suspended at the time of the accident.

Under cross examination the prosecutor brought up a 2004 criminal trespassing charge and pointed out that Collins lied when he said he had never been in trouble.

When the prosecutor hypothetically asked Collins what he would do if someone crashed into his wife and killed her Collins responded that he would want justice.

The prosecutor then asked if he would want to punish that person in for 20 years if he killed his wife and Collins responded, “yes.”

After he made this statement the defense attorney made it seem like Collins did not understand what he was being asked. He kept asking Collins if he understood what justice meant. 

Near the end of his testimony Collins told jurors he accepted responsibility for the deaths of the Porties.

© 2017 KBMT-TV


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