Thursday, August 28 2014 9:33 AM EDT2014-08-28 13:33:06 GMT
SPARTANBURG COUNT, SC (WYFF) - Fifteen children living in a double-wide trailer were put into protective custody and seven adults were arrested, according to the Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office. DeputiesMore >>
Fifteen children living in a double-wide trailer were put into protective custody and seven adults were arrested, according to the Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office.More >>
Amie Jo Skeens will spend at least 28 years behind bars for the murder of a father and son in Burke County.
The jury deliberated for about two hours Monday before convicting Skeens on two counts second degree murder, two counts felony death by vehicle, and two counts DWI.
District Attorney James C. Gaither, Jr. said, "This is a senseless tragedy caused by drunk driving. The victims' family, friends, and the community will long mourn the loss of these two men. Our hope is that this conviction will send a message that impaired driving has horrible consequences and serious repercussions. The conviction in this case was helped by the heroic efforts of several citizen 911 callers and a professional investigation by North Carolina State Highway Patrol, Burke County Sheriff's Office, and the State Bureau of Investigation Crime Laboratory."
WBTV's Steve Ohnesorge was in the courtroom. He talked with the family of the victims - a father and son who were out for a motorcycle ride when they were killed.
While awaiting sentencing, Audrey Moody spoke. She lost her husband and her son. She told Skeens she forgives her, but said Skeens took away all that she had, and that justice must be served. Moody also said she hopes Skeens thinks about what she did as long as she is in prison.
Skeens spoke after Moody. She apologized and said there was no excuse for what happened. Two witnesses also spoke, saying Skeens was in Narcotics Anonymous before the wreck and was also trying to quit smoking - using Chantix - but that her mood had recently changed in the weeks before the wreck. None of that really came out during the trial.
Skeens was initially charged with DWI and Felony Hit and Run. Those charges were upgraded as the investigation proceeded.
In October 2011, Stephen Brent Moody and his son Kevin were riding on a motorcycle on Airport Rhodhiss Road. Their friends were just ahead of them on another motorcycle.
Troopers say Skeens came around the corner and into their lane, sideswiping the first motorcycle, and hitting the Stephen and Kevin head-on. The men were thrown and killed. Both were pronounced dead at the scene.
But troopers say Skeens kept driving, and pulled into a wooded area about a mile down the road.
Neighbors pointed Skeens out to investigators when they arrived at the scene, and Skeens was arrested.
Troopers say Skeens made a statement to the effect that she was "high". Authorities told WBTV Skeens told investigators the zombies were driving, not her.
A breathalyzer showed her blood alcohol level above the legal limit at .10.
Authorities obtained a warrant to take blood from Skeens for more tests. At the time, investigators said they believed she may have been under the influence of drugs as well at the time of the crash. There is no word yet what came of those tests.
Skeens has a history of drug convictions and served probation. In her vehicle were pamphlets for Narcotics Anonymous and a book on the twelve step program the organization uses for recovering addicts.
Days later, Skeens was served warrants from a 1996 case involving the alleged possession and sale of crack cocaine. Those warrants according were never served at the time. Her name on the warrants is listed as Amie Jo Skeens Thrift. .
District Attorney James C. Gaither told WBTV Skeens could face up to eighteen and a half years in prison for each count if convicted, in addition to the DWI charge and previous drug charges.