Kenly man pleads guilty in two DWI deaths
Posted November 1, 2010 11:03 a.m. EDT
Updated November 1, 2010 7:09 p.m. EDT
Wilson, N.C. — 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.
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 His driver's license was revoked at the time of the June incident because of a 2008 driving while impaired conviction.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.