Family Upset by Sentence
Posted February 11, 1997
FAYETTEVILLE — A Cumberland County family is coping with frustration and anger in the wake of a criminal court decision Monday. The drunk driver who hit and killed their family member was sentenced to four months in prison.
Kenneth Sweet was also ordered to perform community service, pay restitution and a fine, and enter a substance abuse treatment program. In a plea bargain, Sweet pleaded guilty to felony death by vehicle, which by definition includes driving under the influence.
Sweet's attorney said the sentence is fair, "under the circumstances."
But the family of 21-year-old Christal Hodge says that is insufficient for killing someone. Her family says the sentence is an insult, and her mother said that people get longer terms for drug violations or robbing a bank than Sweet got for Hodge's death.
Hodge left behind two young children. The family has filed a wrongful death suit.