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Man gets 8-year sentence for DUI, other charge

A Virginia man found guilty of involuntary manslaughter following an auto accident in which he was charged with a DUI is maintaining his innocence. Because of his insistence he is not guilty, however, he now will spend three additional years in prison.

The man was found guilty in March for his role in a December 2008 automobile accident that killed his friend. The jury recommended he serve five years in prison. A few days later, the man failed to show up for the sentencing portion of the trial.

An indictment followed, bringing felony charges of failure to appear. In June, the man was captured in Belize, deported and returned to police in Virginia Beach. He later pleaded guilty to failing to appear.

He appeared recently at his sentencing trial. While he told the judge he meant no disrespect by fleeing before the previous scheduled hearing, he wanted to send a message that he was innocent. The judge reminded him that he had been found guilty.

The judge sentenced the man to five years in prison on the involuntary manslaughter charge and an additional three years for failing to appear.

The man showed emotion at his appearance in court and said he wished he could trade his life to return his friend. The man was driving in December 2008 when he hit a tree, killing his passenger. Police said that both alcohol and excessive speed were factors in the accident.

The man is entitled to a fair trial. He also is entitled to his right to an appeal. However, because he fled not only the state but the country to evade a sentence he considered unfair, the man will find himself in prison an additional three years. Had he sought a shorter sentence through legal means, the outcome may have been much different.

Source: WAVY, "Crockett sentenced in deadly DUI crash," Dec. 18, 2012

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