Families frustrated 4 years after drunk driving deaths
Wednesday has come and gone and one Anchorage mother is glad about that. Dayna Durr says the anniversary of her daughter's death is always a difficult day. "In September is her 20th, what would have been her 20th birthday. And she would be a young woman, hopefully in college and
Dayna Durr says the anniversary of her daughter's death is always a difficult day. "In September is her 20th, what would have been her 20th birthday. And she would be a young woman, hopefully in college and
"In September is her twentieth, what would have been her twentieth birthday. And she would be a young woman, hopefully in college and enjoying life. And wondering what she would look like and sound like and the excitement of life itself. It's all sad," Durr said.
Back on August 9, 2013, a drunk Stacey Graham hit and killed 15-year-olds Jordyn Durr and Brooke McPheters. The girls were walking home from Dimond Center Mall after buying school clothes. Graham slammed into the teens at 88th and Abbott in South Anchorage.
Dayna Durr and the parents of Brooke, Gary and Shanna McPheters, say it's been very difficult for them because Graham has appealed his 32-year sentence. He originally agreed to plead guilty in exchange for a sentencing range of 26- to 40-years in prison. The judge gave him 32-- 16 years for each girl.
But, Graham appealed that sentence, even after agreeing to the plea deal, claiming the judge may have been unfairly swayed in his sentence because of what happened at his sentencing hearing in 2015.
In court documents, Graham's attorney claims some memorial videos of the girls that were put to music shouldn't have been allowed at the sentencing hearing. His appeal attorney says in court documents that, "The punishment phase of a criminal trial is not a memorial service for the victim", and he called the videos "...too emotional and inflammatory for criminal sentencing".
Graham's lawyer also says the court erred by allowing and relying on statements of former Police Chief Mark Mew and a police sergeant as victim impact evidence. Both spoke in support of the girls at the sentencing hearing.
Graham's attorney says, "...police statements can intensify the emotional nature of the sentencing proceeding", and said testimony from police officers may suggest that "...the defendant is more deserving of punishment".
Dayna Durr isn't buying that, saying Graham simply appealed because he didn't think the judge would give him 32 years. She says he was hoping he would only get 26 years.
"If he does get a new sentence hearing we're going to have to repeat victims impact statements and be under scrutiny about what we can and cannot say and if we can show pictures. It just seems so extremely unfair," said Durr.
District Attorney Clint Campion says he hopes the Court of Appeals rules sometime this year.