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Vehicular homicide sentence stands, judge says

Wednesday, June 20, 2012 12:43 PM
Last updated Thursday, June 21, 2012 5:10 AM
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A 15-year sentence for vehicular homicide was kept in place Wednesday after Superior Court Judge Michael Annis was asked to reconsider the maximum sentence he imposed in March.

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Beverly and Keith Revis (center) sit through a sentence reduction hearing for Christopher Roberts on Wednesday. Roberts was sentenced to 15 years in prison for vehicular homicide after a drunk driving incident killed the Revis's 20-year-old daughter, Whitney Revis, on June 4, 2011.    EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
Beverly and Keith Revis (center) sit through a sentence reduction hearing for Christopher Roberts on Wednesday. Roberts was sentenced to 15 years in prison for vehicular homicide after a drunk driving incident killed the Revis's 20-year-old daughter, Whitney Revis, on June 4, 2011.


Annis made the order after weighing emotional testimony from the family of Whitney Revis against pleas from Christopher Roberts’ attorney, Shawn Hammond, not to confuse retribution for rehabilitation.

Annis seemed inclined to take a few years off the sentence but ultimately said he couldn’t ignore that Roberts had two previous DUI arrests and another wreck in 1992 that paralyzed a man from the waist down.

“What I’m hung up on is that this is not the first traumatic event (involving his driving),” Annis said. “At some point, something must be done to protect society.”

Protecting society was the main argument Hammond made for releasing his client early and placing him under an intense probation that would include 400 hours of community service a year, mandatory Alcoholics Anonymous classes and random screenings for alcohol use.

The most recent charge against Roberts, 37, whom Hammond described as a “lifelong alcoholic,” stemmed from a June 4, 2011, accident, when he crashed into a barrier on the on ramp of Bobby Jones Expressway at Doug Barnard Parkway. The impact flung Revis, 20, into the windshield and fatally injured her.

Revis “basically passed away due to the decision by this defendant to drink and drive, yet again,” said Assistant District Attorney John Markwalter.

Roberts received 36 months’ probation for DUI in 2000, then in 2002 was arrested again for DUI. Through an administrative error at the solicitor’s office, the case was disposed of and not prosecuted. Records show the case has been reopened. In 1992, he was charged in connection with a wreck that paralyzed a man, but he was not drinking in that incident.

In making his case for reducing Roberts’ incarceration to no more than seven years in prison, Hammond set out several options for Annis to consider. He suggested community service every Saturday and Sunday for a year, picking up trash or performing some other manual duty. Hammond also asked for a fine of $50 be paid every Friday, not a simple lump sum that could be paid off with a single tax refund. Most important, Hammond wanted intense rehabilitation to help Roberts kick his addiction.

“He’s just like an animal you put in a cage,” Hammond said. “He’s going to be the same, if not worse, coming out of the cage.”

Markwalter and the victim’s family pleaded with Annis not to change his mind about the tough sentence he had previously imposed. Family friend Joy Batchelor said giving Roberts probation will only convince others that the penalties are not severe.

“The cemeteries are filling up with our children because nothing is being done,” she said.

Comments (4) Add comment
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HighSociety
1841
Points
HighSociety 06/20/12 - 12:21 pm
10
0
With his history he should've

With his history he should've got life.

myfather15
57307
Points
myfather15 06/20/12 - 10:35 pm
2
0
This disgusting excuse for a

This disgusting excuse for a human being, ends another persons precious life, then has the gall to plea for a reduced sentence? I agree HS, he should have got life. Makes me sick to hear what the lawyer suggested. Anything to get a pathetic excuse of a human being, a little lighter sentence. He should absolutely have to do ALL those things, AFTER he serves 15 years.

boodroe
1980
Points
boodroe 06/21/12 - 07:15 am
0
0
He can do rehab later

He has 2 previous duis so I guess rehab didn't work He can stay sober the 15 years he serves in jail and maybe after He gets out He will not drink anymore.

nothin2show4it
120
Points
nothin2show4it 06/21/12 - 05:59 pm
0
0
Confuse retribution vs rehabilitation?
Unpublished

That is exactly what attorneys are good for... Keeping killers on the streets. It is money in the bank for them. So tell me, how many must one kill while drunk to have the key thrown away? I drove by that accident that poor girl didn't have a chance.

HighSociety
1841
Points
HighSociety 06/22/12 - 10:12 pm
0
0
The last paragraph in the

The last paragraph in the article is so true and scary.

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