CLAYTON, Mo. (KMOX) — The Sunset Hill Police officer whose wrong-way drunk driving crash cost the lives of four college students from India was sentenced to eight years in prison Thursday.
Judge Michael Jamieson handed down the sentence after relatives of the victims gave tearful testimony of how the deaths have ripped apart their families.
Dressed in bright Indian fashion and speaking through a translator the victims relatives called for a sentence that would set an example. The St. Louis County Prosecutor’s office recommended a 20 year sentence.
Defense attorney Scott Rosenblum asked the judge to consider Christine Miller’s service as a police officer and grant a sentence on the lower end of the scale.
Miller wept as she turned to address the victims families and apologize for her actions.
“I have prayed for you every single day, I pray for God to ease your pain and suffering and for your forgiveness. And I pray that God also forgives me. I will continue to pray for your families the rest of my life,” Miller was then lend away.
Miller entered a blind guilty plea in December to four counts of involuntary manslaughter and one count of second degree assault.
Miller was off-duty and had been drinking at a bar just before the crash in the early hours of March 21, 2009.
The prosecutor in the case had stated her blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit, and that her purse contained a bar receipt for five “cosmopolitan” mixed drinks.
Reacting to the sentence, Prosecutor Bob McCulloch called the eight years Miller received “terribly innappropriate.” McCulluch says a sentence of 15 years would have been more appropriate.
Family members of the victims also criticized the sentence. The fiance of one woman who died told reporters afterward with his eyes swimming that he “couldn’t believe” Miller got “only eight years.”
The group Mothers Against Drunk Driving is also condemning the sentence as “sending the wrong message.”
Defense Attorney Scott Rosenblum was pleased with the outcome, saying it was a hard case for anyone to decide.
St. Louis County Prosecuting attorney Bob McCullough talks with KMOX’ Charlie Brennan about the 8-year sentence.
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