Created on Saturday, 15 December 2012 Written by JOEL E. MAST
Tennessee man admits guilt for deaths of 2 local teens
Matthew W.C. Gilman, who pleaded no contest to two counts of vehicular homicide on Friday, will spend the Christmas holiday in jail despite a request to be home in Knoxville, Tenn., with his family.
“I know this is an enormous tragedy for two families,” court appointed attorney Peter DeSomma said Friday to Bellefontaine Municipal Court Judge Ann Beck.
Still, his client wanted to be home over the holidays to spend time with his family, the attorney conveyed to the judge.
Municipal Prosecutor Joe Bader countered, saying, “Two families will be missing two children this Christmas. I don’t know why his needs are greater than the needs of two families who will never spend Christmas with those children again.”
Judge Beck agreed and ordered Mr. Gilman, 23, into the Logan County Jail until his sentencing on Jan. 16. She noted the time served will count toward his ultimate sentence.
Relatives of the victims watched Friday as the sobbing defendant was led out of the courtroom.
The defendant was scheduled for a trial before the bench.
Instead, he pleaded to the misdemeanor vehicular homicide charges along with citations for failure to control and passing on the right. A citation for speeding was dropped.
Judge Beck found him guilty for an Aug. 3 crash that claimed the lives of passengers Matthew B. Stewart, 19, of DeGraff, and Megan R. Smith, 19, of West Liberty.
According to the Logan County Sheriff’s Office, the defendant was northbound and drove around the right side of another vehicle which was stopped for a left turn into a business.
The Gilman vehicle then went into a ditch, overcorrected and crossed the centerline into the path of a southbound vehicle operated by Jarrad T. Parker, 36, of Marysville.
Mr. Parker and his passenger, Steven Curtis, 36, of Sardinia, required medical attention.