Woman in crash that killed youth pastor sentenced to year in jail
Updated On: Sep 17 2013 09:13:38 PM EDT
A 24-year-old woman involved in a traffic accident that killed a Macclenny youth pastor exactly two years ago was sentenced Tuesday to a year in jail.
Duval County Court Judge John Moran told 24-year-old Holly King that he could not feel sorry for her and gave her the harshest punishment possible.
“Based on your driving record, you were racing down the road,” Moran said to King in court Tuesday.
State troopers said King's car sideswiped a vehicle that 32-year-old Todd Annis and his wife were driving in on Interstate 10 after watching a football game with the youth group. Annis (pictured, below) was ejected.
Moran sentenced King to a year in jail, pay $500 in restitution and recommended her license be suspended for 10. King pleaded no contest to driving with a suspended license when she hit the car Annis and his wife were riding in two years ago on the Westside. Annis was a chaplain for Baker County High School and ran a Christian youth group.
King did not testify at the sentencing hearing, but only sent the judge a letter.
King's lawyers spent much of the day trying to prove she wasn't reckless, saying Annis wasn't wearing a seat belt. Troopers said King was speeding and driving in the emergency lane.
King was originally charged with a felony, but because of a loophole in the law, that charge was reduced to a misdemeanor. In July, the judge denied a motion to dismiss the misdemeanor charges.
King has received 25 traffic citations in her lifetime, four of those citations happened after the crash that killed Annis. Prosecutors argued that those citations show she had no remorse about what happened.
Judge John Moran scolded her as he handed down the harshest punishment he could by law.
Judge Moran told King that he believes she is responsible for killing Annis and that she needs to take the blame for it. Annis' family was in court and they said they were happy with the decision the judge made Tuesday, but also said that although it gives them some closure, the judge’s sentence won't bring back their beloved youth pastor.
"I finally feel like there's some sort of justice and some sort of closure for myself and my family, and I'm very happy with the result," Todd's wife Lauren Annis said.
“This tragedy will hurt for years and years. It will never go away, but we need help in changing this so that other families won't be impacted,” said Annis’ mother-in-law, Barbara O’Neal.
"The judge said it best, nothing else is going to stop her," prosecutor Bradley Bodiford said. "And it's said that someone has to be placed into jail and taken out of society, but I truly agree with him. I don't believe there's any other wake-up call that would've been sufficient, and it'll be best for everyone in the long run."
"I really hope that she uses this time to think about what happened, what choices she made, and hopefully make better choices in the future. I'm not sure that's going to happen, but I hope it does. I will continue to pray for her and her family,” said Lauren Annis.
Police said King racked up nearly a dozen citations over the last two and half years which include speeding, careless driving and not having a valid driver's license.
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