Two Myrtle Beach-area men were sentenced Wednesday for their involvement in a burglary that ended with the death of a 13-year-old boy during a boat crash.
Nicholas Macklen, 29, and Brandon McDevitt, 23, each pleaded guilty Wednesday to first-degree burglary and leaving the scene of an accident involving a death, and three counts of leaving the scene of an accident resulting in bodily injury.
Circuit Court Judge Larry Hyman sentenced Macklen to 27 years for burglary, 25 years for leaving the scene of an accident involving death and 10 years for each count of leaving the scene of an accident resulting in great bodily injury.
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Hyman sentenced McDevitt to 22 years each for the burglary and leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death and 10 years for each count of leaving the scene of an accident resulting in great bodily injury.
Charges of murder and criminal conspiracy were dismissed in exchange for the negotiated guilty pleas of the men, said Elizabeth Tilley, 15th Circuit assistant solicitor.
Both men apologized to the family of 13-year-old Shayne Odermatt of Aiken, who was killed in the boat crash at the Socastee swing bridge in the Intracoastal Waterway.
"I'm sorry. I know there ain't nothing I can do to bring Shayne back," McDevittsaid. "I'm very sorry. I never meant for this to happen."
With tears in his eyes, Macklen told Shayne's family he thinks about them and the boy daily.
"If I could change places with him I would.
"We thought we hit the bridge," Macklen said.
"I apologize. Please find it in your heart to forgive me. I'm sorry y'all got hurt."
In August 2008, a boat carrying Shayne, his grandmother, great-aunt and great-uncle was hit by a boat Macklen was driving on the Intracoastal Waterway.
Police say Macklen and McDevitt had stolen a flat-screen television and other items from a home on Folly Road and were fleeing after being interrupted during the burglary.
The teen died in the crash and the other boaters were taken to the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston with serious injuries.
Elizabeth Morris, Shayne's grandmother who was injured in the crash, told Hyman she lost a part of herself when the teen was killed.
"Shayne was the joy of my life. I don't believe it was an accident," Morris said, before she turned toward Macklen. "You've destroyed so many people, but mostly my daughter's life and your own. I do have the capacity to forgive you."
Roxanna Gordon, Morris' sister who also was hurt in the crash, said she will never forget hearing Macklen's boat without lights coming toward theirs, which was docked.
"Was it worth it for a stupid TV?" Gordon said and showed Macklen a photo of her unrecognizable face bandaged with stitches along with photos of her sister, husband and Shayne.
"How would you feel having to go to your child's funeral and not being able to say good-bye because the body was not viewable?" Gordon asked.
Macklen's aunt, Suzie Hardee, apologized to Shayne's family and said she understood their pain because her brother was killed a year before the boating crash.
"It was dark and Nicholas did not see the boat," Hardee said.
"It was an accident. We can't change an accident. He is not this monster. He would give you the shirt off his back."
McDevitt's mother, Nanette Anderson, also apologized to Shayne's family and told them he was sorry for the teen's death and the injuries to the three others.
"I'm so sorry for your loss. I can't image being in your shoes," Anderson said.
"We pray for you every day. My son is very remorseful for what has happened."