Kamas man sentenced to one year in jail for automobile homicide
May 24, 2016
A 3rd District Court judge has sentenced a 20-year old Kamas man to one year in jail for the October crash that killed his friend.
Randon Kenneth Robertson was sentenced on Monday, under a negotiated plea, to manslaughter, a second-degree felony. Manslaughter is punishable upon conviction by one to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. In exchange for the plea, prosecutors dropped several charges, including failure to stop at a serious injury and obstructing justice.
Judge Paige Petersen ordered Robertson to serve one year in the Summit County Jail, remain under supervised probation for three years after release, abstain from alcohol or drugs, and complete 200 hours of community service and a substance evaluation and treatment.
Robertson was given credit for 210 days spent in the county jail since his arrest in October.
According to court documents, on Oct. 24 at around 4 a.m. the Utah Highway Patrol and Summit County Sheriff’s Office responded to a single-vehicle accident near mile marker 2 on Mirror Lake Highway (State Road 150) and found a grey Nissan Titan resting on its roof.
Former South Summit High School alumnus Larry Paul, 28, was found in the weeds on the side of the road. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Robertson and another passenger, Logan Brown, 18, of Kamas, were later found at Robertson’s home.
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As previously reported in The Park Record, Robertson admitted to Utah Highway Patrol troopers that he had been drinking and driving after initially denying any involvement in the accident and claiming his truck had been stolen. He said he was driving "very fast" and took a turn too sharply while looking and yelling at Paul. He overcorrected, causing the truck to roll.
A toxicology report showed Robertson had a blood-alcohol concentration of .11 more than three hours after the accident. The legal limit is .08.
Robertson’s defense attorney, Francis Chiaramonte, said more than 50 Robertson’s friends and family members attending his sentencing, including members of the Paul’s family.
"The victim’s family played a big role at sentencing," Chiaramonte said. "The only people that spoke beside me and the prosecutor were his adopted sister and brother-in-law.
"He has a very supportive family and he is important to a lot of people," he said.
At Robertson’s first bail hearing in November, Paul’s former legal guardian, Juliana Viar, spoke on Robertson’s behalf. Robertson and Paul both graduated from South Summit High School. Viar had referred to Paul’s death as a "horrible mistake" and said she believed Robertson is "remorseful and understands the seriousness" of the situation.
Chiaramonte said there were many mitigating factors that the judge considered when handing down sentencing. He said the victim purchased the alcohol the men were drinking that night, instigated a fight and then sat in Robertson’s car prior to the accident.
"The victim and my client were friends. But other things happened that night that put my client in a disturbed emotional state and it wasn’t related to alcohol and that is what caused him to leave," Chiaramonte said. "He is obviously struggling dealing with being incarcerated. He knows he played a large role in the death of one of his friends.
"He did make a statement where he apologized and accepted responsibility," he added "He said he never wants to drink again. He has to work for the forgiveness of the victim’s family and his own family. He knows he screwed up and wants to get treatment."
Summit County Attorney Robert Hilder said although his office had initially requested a prison term, he is satisfied with sentencing. Hilder said while there were allegations made against the victim in open court about his conduct the night of the accident, "nothing was determined." He said he would not comment beyond that.
"The Summit County Attorney’s Office thinks when you kill someone in those circumstances prison should be a possibility and, in some cases, a probability," Hilder said. "We had a young defendant that had amazing support through family and the victim’s side. Frankly, I felt like it was a very reasonable decision when all the factors were brought in."
"If he doesn’t make the most of this opportunity, he still goes to prison," he said.
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