A 32-year-old Warrenville man, Karlos Leath, was sentenced Wednesday to six years in prison for the April 2013 crash that killed his 18-year-old neighbor, Stephanie Pickett.
Leath, who later was found to have a blood-alcohol level of .135 and marijuana in his system, told police he gave Pickett a ride to a friend's house. They were returning to the apartment complex where they both lived about 10:30 p.m. when his Ford Explorer left the road near Shaffner and Mack roads, crashed into some trees and rolled over.
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During his sentencing hearing, Leath's wife of several weeks, Amanda Calabrese, and his sister, Kendra Shelby, called Leath "kindhearted" and "responsible."
"A responsible person doesn't smoke pot. A responsible person doesn't drink all day, come home to his fiancee and child only to go back out drinking with an 18-year-old," Assistant States Attorney Deb Brewer said.
Pickett, a Wheaton Warrenville South High School senior, was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead of massive head injuries shortly after the crash.
In exchange for pleading guilty to aggravated driving under the influence, prosecutors agreed to cap their sentencing recommendation for Leath at eight years when he otherwise could have faced up to 14. Prosecutors sought all eight years while Leath and his attorney sought a three-year sentence.
"I'm asking you to take into consideration that I have accepted responsibility wholeheartedly," Leath said. "And I'm asking (Stephanie's) family to learn to forgive me if they haven't already."
Judge Blanche Hill Fawell said she appreciated Leath's participation in Bible studies and parenting classes, but couldn't get past the attitude he showed during a video interview shown during the hearing.
"What touched me the most was that (in the video) you said you wanted one hour with your family to explain what was going on," Fawell said. "But you took that from Stephanie's family."
Leath will serve 85 percent of the six-year sentence with credit for the 250 days he has been in the county jail on $1 million bail since his arrest.