TACOMA, Wash.—James Southard has been here before.
Paraded in front of a family he destroyed, listening to tearful accounts of the father he killed.
On Friday Pierce County Judge Frank Cuthbertson sentenced Southard to 27 years in prison for the vehicular homicide death of Gary Slick.
Southard was high on painkillers when he ran over Slick in Bonney Lake in August of 2012.
In November of 1999 Southard was drunk when he killed another father, Shawn Fairbanks, in a Puyallup car crash.
Southard received a 10 year sentence in that killing.
”It’s hard to think that 27 years is not enough time,” said Judge Cuthbertson, before handing down the sentence for Gary Slick’s death.
In a rare move, after the hearing the judge stepped down from the bench to personally apologize to Slick’s widow, Jurene Slick.
”He just came and apologized he couldn’t do more,” said Jurene Slick.
Slick’s daughter, Erika Miller, does not think the sentence is long enough.
”He’s taken two lives and he still has a chance at a life,” said Miller.
Southard is 51 and Slick’s family said they were told Southard could be released in 18 years for good behavior.
Slick’s sister, Kathi DePiro, said she was happy that Southard got the maximum sentence, although she would have liked him to receive life in prison.
”I hope he learns,” said DePiro. “I don’t want anybody else to go through this.”