Reality Check w/ John Tracy: Does Stacey Graham deserve reduced sentence?
I wanted to talk about the subject of risk. We all take them from time to time. If we’re lucky, they’re small risks.
But, sometimes, they can be big-- with life changing consequences.
Back in 2013, Stacey Graham took one of those life-changing risks; he decided to hop in his pickup truck after an afternoon of drinking. It was a risk that not only changed his life but ended the lives of Brooke McPheters and Jordyn Durr, both of them just 15-years-old.
Graham lost control of his truck and ran it up on the sidewalk, taking the lives of the two girls, whose only risk was deciding to walk home after a back to school shopping trip.
A year later, Graham took another risk. In exchange for pleading guilty to two counts of second-degree murder, the state dropped manslaughter and DUI charges. At his sentencing, Graham showed genuine remorse. The judge handed him a 32-year sentence-- 16 years for the life of each girl.
Hardly justice, but enough to allow the families to move forward. He even received forgiveness from Jordyn Durr’s mother.
But now, Graham is appealing his sentence because he thinks it’s too long. He wants a do-over-- and under state law, he gets one. And, the families of the girls are feeling less forgiving. They are angry and confused-- and they should be.
I don’t know Stacey Graham. For all I know, he’s a nice guy who took responsibility for taking a stupid risk that far too many others take on a weekly basis. But, by pleading guilty to the murder charges, Graham avoided the potential for an even longer sentence if convicted on all the charges.
He took a risk. And a funny thing about risks: you live with the consequences.
Brooke McPheters and Jordyn Durr would also like a second chance, but because of Stacey Graham, they’re not going to get one.
John’s opinions are his own, and not necessarily those of Denali Media or its employees.