Driver who killed three in Michigan gets nearly 20 years in prison
Written by Associated Press   
Saturday, 20 April 2013 05:12

PAW PAW, Mich. (AP) — A drunken driver who killed three people in a crash in southwestern Michigan expressed remorse and then broke down in tears Friday as he was sentenced to at least 19½ years in prison.

A Van Buren County judge followed the plea deal worked out by a prosecutor and David Johnson, whose blood alcohol level was four times the legal limit in the November crash.

"I know what I did and there's no way I can pay it back. ... I'm truly sorry," Johnson said.

The victims were Brittney King, 24, of Bangor, and two young sisters, Kandice Berryhill, 2, and Cassadi Berryhill, 4, of South Haven. Their father, Justin Berryhill, survived the crash.

"People keep telling me that I need to forgive you," Berryhill told Johnson. "But to me, the forgiveness means it's OK and what you did is not OK. You took the lives of three beautiful girls. I can't stand the sight of you."

Johnson received a sentence of 19½ to 50 years in prison for second-degree murder. He will be eligible for parole consideration after the minimum sentence is served.

"This case speaks in my mind to the horrors of substance abuse," Judge Kathleen Brickley said. "Untreated, it wreaks havoc on an individual, a family, a community."

Belinda Quinones read a statement mourning her two granddaughters and asking Johnson to get help in prison for alcohol abuse.

"You can be a testimony for our girls. I am begging you not to let them die in vain," she said.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


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