SOMERSET, Ky. (WKYT) - William Wesley was charged with murder because police say his blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit when his car and a motorcycle driven by Jacob Ebenstein collided on Ky. 635 last April.
“Our heart breaks every time we do one of these cases,” said assistant commonwealth’s attorney David Dalton after the change of plea hearing.
Today Wesley owned up to a crime in pleading guilty.
In exchange for the lesser charge of manslaughter second and first degree criminal mischief, Wesley could serve just over 12 years in prison. Wesley’s mother watched her son’s change of plea in the Somerset courtroom.
“It’s just a nightmare that never stops,” she said, “ I am very sorry for this little Jacob and his family. I know under no circumstances would Billy intentionally hurt anybody.”
But the victim’s mother, Tina Ebenstein did not attend the hearing.
“I just didn’t want to go through seeing this man anymore than I had to,” she said over the phone Friday morning.
Talking to WKYT while out of town, Ebenstein said she agreed to the plea deal.
“I just felt facing him the day of sentencing is going to be hard enough,” she said. “And to be quite honest he doesn’t deserve any more of my time or my family’s time.”
Even if the case had gone to trial, the victim’s mother questions if justice would have been served. She and prosecutors say they believe what Kentucky needs is a vehicular homicide law.
Often deadly DUI cases end up as manslaughter seconds, considered a non- violent offense with the maximum sentence of ten years. Wesley could get out of prison by only serving 20 percent of his sentence.
“When he goes to prison he’ll have had one-year in a county jail and two years in prison before his parole hearings,” Ebenstein said.
Prosecutors say there’s been talk of vehicular homicide laws before but so far it’s been all talk…and no action.
Wesley will be back before a judge on April 17th for his final sentencing. That’s two days after the one-year anniversary of the crash.