Man sentenced in fatal hit-and-run
WAYNE — A judge ordered probation and community service Thursday for the hit-and-run death of a Kenova woman killed last year along U.S. 60 as she walked home from a nearby bar in northern Wayne County.
Jackie Dale Hewlett, 41, of Kenova, received the punishment moments after pleading no contest to a charge of leaving the scene of an accident causing death.
The sentence by Wayne Circuit Judge Jim Young orders Hewlett to serve five years' probation and complete 100 hours community service. The sentence also included a suspended three-year prison term.
The conviction and punishment stems from a vehicle accident which killed pedestrian Candy Mallory, 38. It happened in the early hours of July 9 along U.S. 60 near an amusement park. The nursing student was walking home from an evening at a nearby bar.
Hewlett, deaf and mute, apologized in a written letter read aloud at Thursday's hearing. But those words did little to answer questions from Mallory's husband, Robert, who testified and called Hewlett "a coward" for not immediately coming forward once news circulated that Candy Mallory's body had been discovered over an embankment from the accident.
"I'm glad I'm not in your shoes because I couldn't live with myself," Robert Mallory said. "You let the heat get to her ... What if it was your mom laying out there? Or your wife? Wouldn't you want somebody to tell you?"
Hewlett recalled hitting something that night, but long believed the object was a deer.
Reality came into focus with an amber blinker cover found at the scene, said Wayne County Prosecutor Tom Plymale. Investigators traced the molding to a mid-1990s model Chevrolet Cavalier and sought the public's help in locating such a vehicle.
The resulting tips pointed toward Hewlett, Plymale told the court. Investigators seized his vehicle, and evidence collected from its windshield matched that of Mallory's DNA. An accident reconstructionist placed Mallory as walking very close to the road's white line when she was hit.
Plymale agreed to dismiss a count of negligent homicide. He explained in court he believed it would have been difficult to prove that Hewlett acted in a reckless manner. After court, Plymale added that evidence of Mallory's intoxication could have further complicated a negligent homicide conviction.
"Quite frankly, what he is willing to plea to is probably all we could ever prove," he told the court.
Hewlett's two-sentence letter, as read by the court's sign language interpreter, said Mallory remains in his thoughts every day and that no words could possibly express his apology for the family's loss.
Robert Mallory questioned Hewlett's remorse during his testimony. He talked of months of anger, frustration, grief and a continued desire to enact personal revenge.
"(Hewlett) goes on with life," Robert Mallory testified. "Without a bump in the road, you might want to call it, because that's what it was. He hit her and he kept on going. Just like hitting a speed bump."
Plymale cited Hewlett's lack of a criminal record and his seven years of full-time employment at a local rental business as reasons for probation.
Melissa Moran described her brother, Hewlett, as a good-hearted man who grew up as one of seven siblings. He graduated from Tolsia High School, fathered two children and became a field representative supervisor for his rental company. She blamed spinal meningitis for causing his deafness and speech problems.
Mallory was a graduate of Buffalo High School and was studying to be a registered nurse at ITT Tech in Huntington at the time of her death. She is survived by three children, two stepsons and three grandsons.