|BG man given sanctions in 2012 death of friend|
|Written by BILL RYAN Sentinel Staff Writer|
|Saturday, 23 March 2013 08:26|
There was no joy in Judge Alan Mayberry's courtroom Friday morning as the sentence for Matthew Nissen's conviction in regard to his role in the death of his friend last June.
Nissen was placed on two years of community control sanctions for his conviction of aggravated vehicular homicide.
Mitchell Aring, 30, was a passenger in Nissen's vehicle on June 17 on Bloomdale Road near Oil Center Road, when Nissen lost control causing the accident which claimed Aring's life.
Nissen, 24, of Bowling Green, and formerly of Pemberville, pleaded guilty to the charge as well as a misdemeanor charge of operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
At Friday's sentencing, the family of Aring were on hand and letters were read for the court from Aring's parents and sister.
The comments from his family not only praised their loved one, but also told the court of how they had forgiven Nissen and were not seeking any prison time for him.
His sister Brittni Aring's letter, read by a staff member of the prosecutor's office, called her late brother a "reliable and respected man."
Regarding Nissen, she wrote, "I have forgiven him ... and extended an olive branch to Matt."
The letters shared how they want the defendant to be able to be with his child and to be able to perform community service by addressing teens and other young drivers about the dangers of drinking and driving.
Assistant Wood County prosecuting attorney Gwen Howe-Gebers, said she and the family agreed in not requesting a prison sentence so that Nissen could be a "father and productive member of the community."
Nissen was given the opportunity to address the court prior to the victim's letters were read.
He thanked the Aring family for forgiving and supporting him and as Mayberry later said, "showed genuine remorse" for his actions.
In issuing his sentence, the judge noted he rarely has a case where the victim and the defendant shared such close bonds.
"That does not change the fact that you could have killed anybody. You did not have the capacity to be behind the wheel. You could have killed anyone on June 17," Mayberry said. "You have affected many people's lives for the rest of their lives. This is tragic all around without a doubt."
Through the plea agreement, two alternative counts were dismissed.
In issuing his sentence, the judge ordered 90 days in jail for the homicide charge, allowing for work release. He stayed the sentence for a week to allow the work release to be properly processed. Mayberry also ordered 180 days for the OVI offense, suspending 177 of those days. The ending three days and the 90 days were ordered to be served concurrently.
Nissen's driver's license will be suspended for five years, with limited driving privileges granted for work, treatment and probation.
The treatment ordered for Nissen includes services from the Compass program. The defendant was ordered not to consume any alcohol nor frequent any bars. He must maintain gainful employment, but not as a bartender.
The judge ordered 200 hours of community service, with at least 100 of those hours to be speaking to youth about the dangers of driving while under the influence of alcohol.
Mayberry also reserved five years in prison for Nissen should he violate the terms of his community control sanctions.
"I hope all these things that have been said about you are not misplaced," the judge told Nissen.
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