The mother of a Spartanburg man who died in a hit-and-run wreck pleaded for the court to have mercy on the accused driver in court on Tuesday.
Gary Jeter Sr., 44, appeared in a Spartanburg County courtroom on Tuesday where Solicitor Barry Barnette said the hit-and-run case was expected to go to trial, but instead, Jeter pleaded guilty to his original charges following the mother's request for mercy.
Jeter was charged with leaving the scene of an accident involving death and driving with a suspended license in June 2012 after he turned himself in to authorities following a fatal crash on June 16.
The accident happened near the intersection of Warren H. Abernathy Highway and Blackstock Road about 3:30 a.m.
At the time of the crash, the Spartanburg County Coroner's Office said 31-year-old Shannon Cross died because of internal injuries associated with the crash.
Jeter's mother spoke with FOX Carolina on June 17 and said she convinced Jeter to turn himself in after he saw a report on the incident Saturday night. According to his mother, he knew he had hit something lying in the road in that area Saturday morning but said he didn't realize it was a person.
During his appearance in court on Tuesday, Barnette said Cross' family showed great mercy towards Jeter. He said they wanted him to pay a price for the horrible accident, wanting him to admit his guilt, but they did not want him to go to jail.
"I plead for the court to have mercy on him," Cross' mother said in court.
After he pleaded guilty, Barnette said Jeter was sentenced to 10 years in prison suspended to one year of home detention along with a $25,000 fine suspended to $10,000. He was also sentenced to three years of probation.
"Hit and runs are happening all the time, it seems like. At least this family got closure to their case," Barnette told FOX Carolina.
Jeter said he hadn't been able to sleep since the incident and was thankful for the Cross family's forgiveness.
"I thank God for the situation, how it came out," Jeter told Fox Carolina's Nikki Davidson Tuesday afternoon. "I am grateful for the remarks she said, to have mercy on me. She didn't want me to go to prison. I couldn't wait for this day to be able to look at them and tell them how sorry I was for the accident."
"Ever since it happened June 16, they've been in my prayers, and they'll be in my prayers for here on out, " said Jeter."
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Sunday, March 9 2014 9:32 PM EDT2014-03-10 01:32:37 GMT
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