I have known Kristine Heath for 23 years, and was present in the courtroom the second and final day of her trial (“Woman guilty in fatal wreck,” Aug. 15). It appears to me that she was given a sentence of 20 years in prison based on the judge’s opinion of her demeanor in the courtroom and in the police video from the scene of the accident.
After the closing arguments, the judge instructed the jury to decide its verdict based on the evidence, not on personal bias or the opinions presented by the attorneys. The judge did exactly what he told the jury not to do. After the statements were made by the families involved, he explained the sentencing to the courtroom, stating “I’m not seeing an acceptance of responsibility, none at all,” and “I’m shocked by the total lack of remorse or concern or emotion, that you realize that you’ve just taken a life.”
I find it difficult to have any respect for our court system after watching the way Superior Court Judge Michael Annis handled the sentencing of this case. Judge Annis did not know Krissy Heath. I do. Under duress and difficult situations, she does not outwardly demonstrate her emotions. She remained very calm during the trial and had no facial expression even during the sentencing. Because of her personality, he gave her an extremely harsh sentence. I pray and hope that the legal system, including the district attorney, is upset and embarrassed by this judge’s lack of judgment, and demands a review of this sentence.
In addition, I have never been on Ridge Road and have never seen the stop sign. But I understand from many people that it is difficult to see. I also have been told that the Georgia Department of Transportation has placed warning/rumble strips as you are approaching the stop sign. Interestingly enough, this was done after this particular accident occurred.
Patricia N. Collins