The hotel valet convicted of running over and killing a Richmond woman while on the job will spend the next year behind bars. Tuesday, a judge sentenced Paul Gray Jr. to five years in prison, and then suspended all but one of those years.
Josephine Stone was killed back in October when Gray took a short cut by driving on the sidewalk near the Hilton Garden Inn.
It was an emotional day inside the courtroom. The prosecutor, defense attorney and judge all say there is no winner in this case. No amount of time will bring back Josie Stone and Paul Gray said Tuesday, he'll never forgive himself.
Both Stone's and Gray's friends and family walked out of the courtroom silently and solemnly.
"This has been a horrible, horrible case for every person involved," defense attorney John Rockecharlie explained.
Neither side wanted to talk about the outcome.
"Nobody has walked out of this courtroom feeling better," prosecutor Traci Miller said.
Paul Gray addressed that courtroom. He sobbed, "To all of you sitting over there, I never, ever wanted someone to lose their life from my actions." He asked for forgiveness. Most involved agree this could have happened to anyone.
"Ms. Stone was an absolute innocent walking on the side walk to go to a concert at The National," Miller asserted.
While the involuntary manslaughter conviction can carry a ten year prison term, the sentencing guidelines in this case only called for probation up to six months in jail. Tuesday, the judge went above that and ordered a year behind bars. Rockecharlie says this is too much for a mistake.
"We respectfully disagree with the sentence," he added. "We don't think the sentence is appropriate."
The judge took Gray's driving record into account. The 27-year-old had six traffic tickets, including one reckless driving charge in which he was going 100mph and a recent DUI, which meant he was driving with a restricted license when he hit Josie.
"It appears that all along the way there were opportunities for Mr. Gray to understand that there could be consequences not just to him but to other members of our community," Miller said.
Sobs could be heard on both sides of the courtroom. The victim's husband was notably absent. We're told John Stone made the drive up from South Carolina but couldn't take sitting in the hearing.
Rockecharlie says Gray hasn't determined whether or not he'll file an appeal. They're still weighing their options.
There is also a civil case pending on the incident.
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