It was an emotional morning in 4th Judicial District Court Tuesday. Sheridan Media's Mary Jo Johnson has the report.
23-year-old Jerald Roberts faced sentencing on the charge of Aggravated Homicide by Vehicle. The charge stems from a one vehicle rollover on April 20th 2009 that took the life of Christopher Fletcher. The accident occurred just after midnight on the Interstate 90 on-ramp near K-Mart, where Roberts failed to negotiate the turn, the vehicle rolled, ejecting both occupants from the vehicle. Fletcher was pronounced dead at the scene. Roberts had a blood alcohol content reading of .24.
In court Tuesday, Roberts, whose family sat in the gallery behind him, listened while Fletcher's mother, Allison Seay of Colorado, read a Victim's Impact Statement. She told Roberts, and the Court, that “there are not enough words to describe the impact” his actions did to her family. She told the court how Christopher's loss will forever affect his older brother Nick and his younger sister, Hope.
She said, “I don't know how to be the mother of two; I was meant to be the mother of three...”
She ended her statement by saying that she and her family are not out for vengeance, but for justice. She said, “JD, you will have to live with this the rest of your life. JD, when you get out of prison, have the power to honor CJ by sharing your story with other young people. Don't let his death be in vain by going back to drinking and using drugs.”
Prosecutor for the State, Matt Redle, broke down when speaking to Judge John Fenn on his recommendations for sentencing. Redle said that he has never worked with a family who so wants to balance their “anger with mercy, recognizing the loss of not just their son, but also the loss of a friend... they desire that something positive come from this.”
Before Judge Fenn handed down the sentence, he said to Christopher's family, “This is truly a tragic case, and the last paragraph of his mother's written statement shows a high level of compassion. I applaud you in your handling of this situation; you are remarkable people.”
Jerald Roberts will serve not less than two and not more than four years in prison, with no probation. He is to pay $200 to the Crime Victims Fund, $10 in court costs and $75 for a substance abuse evaluation. He is also to undergo substance abuse treatment and is to enroll in and complete the Intensive Treatment program at the Department of Corrections.
Members of both families tearfully hugged him good-bye, before he was handcuffed and led out of the courtroom.