Harlem man sentenced to 22 years in fatal crash

 A Harlem man was sentenced to prison Friday after a Columbia County jury convicted him on several charges from a fatal wreck in May 2007.

Brandon Christopher Newman, 27, received 22 years in prison after being found guilty of two counts of vehicular homicide, serious injury by vehicle, driving under the influence and reckless driving.

Newman was driving in foggy, damp conditions on Harlem-Grovetown Road early May 13 with his brother, Cameron Newman, 23, of Harlem; Mallory Jason, 19, of Martinez; and Sarah Boykin, 16, of Richmond County, when he lost control of his Dodge Quad Cab truck and hit a pine tree, police said.

The wreck killed Newman's brother and Jason. Boykin was seriously injured.

"This is a terrible tragedy," Superior Court Judge Carl Brown said. "The loss is sustained by everyone."

Newman apologized for his actions before he was sentenced.

The jury of eight women and four men deliberated for more then six hours before reaching a verdict.

The trial was Newman's second. The first, in November 2008, was declared a mistrial when the jury could not reach a unanimous decision.

Assistant District Attorney Adam King said the verdict "finally provides accountability" for Newman. He asked for the maximum sentence on behalf of the Jason family.

"I love my daughter. She was snatched away," said Jason's father, Jerry. "That was the worst day of my life."

"I know their pain," said Newman's mother, Crystal Bradford. "I lost a child that night. It is devastating."

Victor Hawk, Newman's attorney, contended that he lost control of the truck after being bumped from behind by a friend. He also claimed during the trial that blood-alcohol measurements were skewed and that an accident reconstruction was not accurate.