Jason Sherman expressed remorse and asked for mercy after pleading guilty to a deadly hit-and-run, but the judge followed the state's recommendation and sentenced him to more than a decade in prison.
Sherman, 35, was sentenced to 15 years Wednesday by Judge Larry Hyman in connection with the death of 51-year-old Henrietta McCray last year. Sherman pleaded guilty in May, but his sentencing was delayed so McCray's family could make a statement. Her sister, Clara Harrell, and cousin Carol Bush both spoke Wednesday.
Bush said McCray was the "matriarch of our family," and Harrell held back tears as she recalled the shock of losing her sister.
"Her death wasn't necessary. She didn't have to die in the way that she died," Bush said.
Both asked the judge to impose the maximum sentence — 25 years.
"My sister was a good person ... The max is not enough," Harrell said.
Sherman also spoke at the sentencing, asking the judge to show mercy in his sentencing.
"I'm sorry to the family," he said.
The hit and run happened in Conway in February 2017. Sherman was driving on Church Street just off Highway 501 when he struck McCray. He then pulled into a gas station and eventually left the scene. Sherman turned himself in four days later.
Senior Assistant Solicitor Lauree Richardson recommended a sentence of 12 to 18 years at Sherman's plea hearing. Sherman faced criminal charges in the past related to possession of marijuana and cocaine, Richardson said at the hearing.