Local News

Kenly man pleads guilty in two DWI deaths

Posted November 1, 2010

— A Kenly man charged in the June deaths of two pedestrians in Wilson pleaded guilty Monday to two counts of voluntary manslaughter.

Jimmy Vincent Coleman, 34, of West First Street, had been charged with two counts of second-degree murder, two counts of felony death by motor vehicle, one count of driving with a revoked license and one count of driving while impaired.

In entering his plea, Coleman sobbed, saying, "I'm sorry. I didn't see them that night."

Prosecutors said Coleman had a 0.11 blood-alcohol content and had cocaine in his system when he hit Amie Sullivan, 25, and Nikki Whitley, 22, on June 6. The women were walking in the 3400 block of Raleigh Road Parkway, on the way home from the restaurant where Whitley worked, police said.

Handcuffs, prisoner Kenly man pleads guilty to deaths of pedestrians

Sullivan and Whitley's parents addressed the court before the sentence was handed down.

"My daughter was everything to me. She was my life, my best friend," said Lisa Whitley.

"She was the whole world to me," Kenneth Sullivan said of his daughter.

Coleman was sentenced to 72 to 96 months in prison on each manslaughter count. He'll serve the sentences consecutively, so he could be incarcerated for as long as 16 years.

"I want him to take his time in jail to get his life together," Lisa Whitley said. "So maybe when he gets out, he can be a productive citizen and never put another mother through what he's put me through."

According to state Department of Correction records, Coleman had a history of traffic offenses, including six speeding tickets since 2002. In each case, he pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of having an improper muffler. His driver's license was revoked at the time of the June incident because of a 2008 driving while impaired conviction.

Immediately after their deaths, relatives of Sullivan and Whitley expressed outrage over Coleman's ability to continue driving with such a lengthy record of infractions.


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  • wisabear70 Nov 3, 2010

    I am Nikkis Mom! I love her and miss her very much. Nothing is going to bring back Nikki and Amie! We (Amies Mom and myself) spoke on several occasions with the DA and we dedided to accept the plea. Our families have suffered enough. We did not want the girls or our families victimized any further. Jimmie Coleman has children and a family also. We did consider his kids when making this decision. I pray for them daily. We have said over and over again we DID NOT want revenge on this man we only wanted justice for our girls. I speak for myself when I say that I can accept this sentence. 12-18 years is a long time. He is required to get drug and alcohol treatment while in prison. Which I thank the judge for adding to the plea agreement. I can honestly say I think Jimmie Coleman is sorry for his mistake and is truly sorry for killing the girls. I can now start trying to forgive him! This was not an accident but a horrible mistake and we all have to pay for our mistakes!

  • FromClayton Nov 2, 2010

    those poor parents....our justice system failed them by letting this fool even be driving that night. so sad.

  • szkriger3 Nov 2, 2010

    they were walking with traffic that night but it doesn't matter which way they were walking b/c they were not on the road he ran up on the curb and hit them on the grass amie's aunt [zebbra kriger ]

  • tritonlm6 Nov 2, 2010

    Y'all know he won't be in jail for 16 years, right? They don't even give that much time for 1st degree murder. I'll bet he's out of jail and on parole inside of 4 years. He'll be back on the roads in no time (drunk) with no license and no insurance.

  • ambidextrous cat Nov 2, 2010

    72-96 months in prison per offense will not cure his alcoholism or stop him from getting a car again once he gets out early on parole. Rehabilitation would save more lives, because punishment just breeds criminals.

  • Skunki Parkar Nov 1, 2010

    they were my kin folks that got MURDERED. He should have gotten life in prison with no parole.

    God Bless.

  • Eastern N.C. Native Nov 1, 2010

    He had a revoked license so he wasn't supposed to drive in the first place. I think you'd all be surprised to find how many people are driving without a license in the first place... Anyways, with a little good conduct he'll get out early to do it all again.

  • Adelinthe Nov 1, 2010

    "In entering his plea, Coleman sobbed, saying, 'I'm sorry. I didn't see them that night.'"

    He had a revoked license and was drunk. I have no pity for him. He should have received two life sentences because that's the sentence he imposed on those he killed.

    Praying for the loved ones of his victims.

    God bless.


  • Trinket Nov 1, 2010

    Just 16 years for 2 deaths? He will probably get out sooner than that. Two deaths that would have been prevented if he had not put his drunk self behind the wheel. There is no excuse for drinking and driving. You would think he would have received a life sentence at least. Unbelievable. :( I can't even imagine the outrage the victims families must feel.

  • meBNme Nov 1, 2010

    At least he manned up and pleaded guilty. The rich doctor doesnt have the go nads to be a man. I hope they become cellmates....

    Did he?
    he said he was sorry for not seeing them.
    As if it were some random accident not of his fault, he just "didnt see them".

    Truely owning up would have been to say he was sorry for driving while drunk.

    "not seeing them" diverts the responsibilty and guilt to an accident.
    "Driving drunk" acknowleges and accepts the responsibility and guild.