Christopher Burgess, the man who recently pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter for the 2016 fatal collision that killed Damaris Ponce, appeared for final sentencing in Christian Circuit Court Wednesday.
The charges were amended down from murder, second-degree assault and possession of a controlled substance. He pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter, fourth degree assault and possession of a controlled substance. Burgess had used a controlled substance before driving the day of the accident.
Burgess became emotional while he apologized to Ponce’s family, saying he will regret his actions that day for the rest of his life and he mourns for her daughter.
Defense attorney Boone Reed requested Burgess’ sentence be probated so he could be with his family but Commonwealth’s Attorney Lynn Pryor was opposed, asking the recommended sentence be upheld.
While Judge Andrew Self says he feels compassion for Burgess, it is the court’s duty to be just and he feels the agreement of eight years in prison is fair.
Burgess’ must serve 20 percent of his sentence before becoming eligible for parole and he will receive credit for time served. He must also pay $7,010 in restitution to Ponce’s family.