WACO (June 20, 2013)—Jurors decided on a prison sentence Thursday for a Hewitt man who was found guilty in the death of a 2-year-old Bellmead girl in an Oct. 15, 2011 traffic accident.
The 54th District Court jury sentenced David Michael Martin, 41, to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine, after hearing testimony earlier Thursday in the punishment phase of the trial.
Martin, who could have been sentenced to as much as 20 years in prison, will be eligible for parole in 7 ½ years.
“We hope this verdict provides some measure of closure to the Shepherd family,” Assistant District Attorney Amanda Dillon said.
“This verdict should serve as a message to anyone else who chooses to drink and drive in McLennan County,” she said.
Jurors deliberated for less than two hours Wednesday before finding Martin guilty of intoxication manslaughter in the death of Ivyana Sheppard, 2, of Bellmead, who was riding with her father at the time of the crash.
Martin's 1999 Ford pickup truck struck a 1985 Chevrolet Caprice driven by the toddler’s father, David Sheppard, 24, of Beverly Hills.
Police said Sheppard had turned east onto Bagby from Corporation Parkway when the eastbound truck slammed into the rear of his car, which burst into flames on impact.
Martin's blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit and he was driving at nearly 90 miles per hour in a 50-mile-an-hour speed zone. at the time of the crash at Bagby Avenue and Corporation Parkway, authorities said.
A witness drove Sheppard and the toddler to Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center where the child later died, police said.
Martin was trapped in his truck after the crash and was freed by Waco firefighters, police said.
He was also taken to Hillcrest.