Local News

Woman Angered By Verdict In Drunk-Driving Trial

Posted May 12, 2001 6:21 a.m. EDT

— Candy Sorrell was there the night a car slamed into her fiance on the Durham Freeway. Jason Caviness was attaching a car to his tow truck when the driver of a Jeep, Dennis Cannon, hit and killed him. Police say Cannon was drunk.

Last week, a jury sentenced Cannon to less than two years in prison, and his intended bride is shocked and angered by the verdict.

Sorrell and Caviness had already spent a life together. Sorrell is left now to put hers back together again.

"This is Jay and me when we were 6," she says, showing a picture of her lifelong friend and love. They started dating in their teens and had planned to be married.

"He was willing to do anything for anybody," she says. "I mean even a total stranger."

And then it all ended on the Durham freeway.

"I was relieved that somebody was arrested, then here this man sits and he's blowing a .25 [reading on the breathalyzer]. It's beyond comprehension," she says.

Candy sat in on every day of Cannon's trial for second degree murder and felony death by vehicle. Her family was shocked when, last week, Cannon was found guilty of the lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter, and sentenced to less than two years in prison. Cannon gets to leave prison during the day to work.

"This guy is more or less walking away with a slap on the wrist. I mean, 20 to 24 months for taking Jay's life?" she says.

Jason's truck is still being used by his brother. All of the family cars bear stickers, "in memory of JPC". The court case did not bring the closure they need.

"We all walked out of that courtroom that day going, 'this can't be over,'" she says. Candy and Jason's family wants this verdict appealed, but that is unlikely to happen.