Driver who killed 2 teen girls sentenced to 32 years in prison
The drunk driver who struck and killed two 15-year-old girls on an Anchorage sidewalk was sentenced to 32 years in prison Friday.
Stacey Graham, 33, pleaded guilty in October to two counts of second-degree murder for the deaths of Jordyn Durr and Brooke McPheters. Anchorage Superior Court Judge Kevin Saxby handed down a sentence of 20 years for each count with four years suspended for both.
The State of Alaska had asked for a longer sentence of 40 years, the maximum sentence allowed.
“The state is asking you to impose the harshest sentence, the lengthiest sentence ever imposed in a DUI death. We are asking you to do this because we are fed up,” said Assistant District Attorney Daniel Shorey.
Anchorage Police Chief Mark Mew also asked the judge for a maximum sentence. He said a strict penalty might help to deter others from drinking and driving. Mew said it wasn’t realistic to expect some people not to drink, but maybe they could be persuaded to take a cab.
But Saxby said he had to consider other factors, including sentences given for similar crimes. Even the lowest possible sentence of prison time — 26 years — would have been a record sentence. Graham had no prior criminal record, was remorseful and has a high likelihood of rehabilitation, said Saxby, adding that he believed Graham when he said he wanted to be a voice for sobriety. He said with good behavior, it’s possible Graham could be out of prison in about 21 years.
It was an emotional hearing for the parents of the two girls, who were killed Aug. 9, 2013 while walking home from the Dimond Center mall. Dayna Durr, Jordyn’s mother, spoke to Graham during the hearing.
“Learning to survive the death of a child has been excruciating, but to survive the murder of a child is beyond comprehension,” Durr said.
Graham also spoke out in court, addressing both sets of parents.
“As a father myself, I know the love one has for his children,” Graham said. “I killed your babies. My hurt in that truth is unimaginable. I took their precious lives from you; your lives will never be the same.”
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