No reduction in sentence for driver with rare medical disorder
CONROE, TX (KTRK) -- A young driver charged with three counts of manslaughter is back in court. The man was involved in a crash that killed three people, but his family says the crash was caused by a rare medical disorder that causes his heart to stop.
Everyone in the courtroom agreed this is a tragic situation that involves good people. Still, on Thursday a judge ordered that driver to finish out his punishment.
Outside a crowded courtroom, a victim's sister and the sister of a convicted killer exchange a hug.
"Our heart breaks for them and their loss," said Brandy McKinley, sister of Casey, who's convicted in a deadly accident. "Casey's heart breaks for them and their loss. And if there's anything any of us can do, we want to help them heal."
Back in 2009, Casey McKinley ran a red light and crashed into another car, killing three people. McKinley, 22, says he doesn't remember the crash and a doctor later diagnosed him with neurocardiogenic syncope - a condition that can cause people to suddenly black out. Still, McKinley pleaded guilty to three counts of manslaughter and was sentenced to five years of probation.
"We understand he was ill but there was still a responsibility in that and if it had ever gone to court that would have been proven as well," said Brenda Waters, the wife of one of the victims. "All we asked for was probation just so that it's not just swept under the rug."
McKinley has been on probation for more than two years, completing community service and undergoing random drug tests. At a hearing Thursday, a judge denied a request to let him off early.
"This is sad all the way around," said prosecutor Rob Freyer. "However, it doesn't change the fact that three people are dead."
McKinley, who cried throughout the hearing, now has a pacemaker and is in college, studying petroleum engineering. Part of his probation requires he maintain these three crosses -- one for each victim.
"He's got his whole life ahead of him," said Waters. "It'll be off his record and he can pick up where he left off. We can't."
"I can see that they're hurting and I don't want them to think that we have any hatred toward them," Brandy said.
After the hearing, the victims' family members went from the courthouse to the cemetery, to honor their loved ones.
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