MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — A Mobile neurosurgeon who was previously charged with manslaughter in the death of a medical student in a car crash last year is now charged with murder.
Prosecutors claim that after midnight August 1, 2020, Dr. Jonathan Nakhla crashed his car on west I-165 Service Road after drunkenly driving at over 130 miles per hour. Samantha Thomas, a third-year medical student at the University of South Alabama who lived at the same apartment complex as Nakhla, was a passenger in his car and was killed in the crash.
Nakhla, who previously worked at Mobile Infirmary Medical Center before the crash, was subsequently charged with manslaughter and released on $200,000 bond.
According to the Mobile County District Attorney’s Office, the grand jury chose to indict Nakhla for murder instead of manslaughter.
Nakhla’s lawyers have said there is no evidence that alcohol played a role in the crash and that the data reading prosecutors used to determine how fast he was going was unreliable.
Following his daughter’s death, Thomas’ father filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Nakhla, but the case has since been dismissed at his request, according to court documents. Nakhla is also being sued by the wife of a former patient who alleges that he performed the wrong brain surgery on her husband, which led to his death on December 11, 2018.
Murder is a Class A felony that can carry a prison sentence from 10 years up to life in prison.