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Clanton woman sentenced for causing death

Published 3:34pm Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A 48-year-old Clanton woman on Monday was sentenced to 14 years in prison for manslaughter involving a vehicular homicide on April 3, 2010.

Lona Mitchell was sentenced by Judge Sibley Reynolds for the death of Richard Gilliam, 71, of Clanton.

Mitchell and Gilliam were both driving on Kincheon Road at 3:30 p.m. April 3, when Mitchell crossed over into Gilliam’s lane of traffic resulting in the crash.

Gilliam, who was heading back home after leaving West End Baptist Church in preparation for Easter Sunday, was pronounced dead on the scene and Mitchell, who was heading to downtown Clanton, was transported to UAB.

Toxicology reports showed Mitchell was under the influence of prescription and non-prescription drugs at the time of the incident according to Assistant District Attorney Brandon Bates of the 19th Judicial Circuit of Alabama.

“Both substances with their combined effect resulted in Mitchell not being able to control her car,” Bates said.

Bates said Mitchell was indicted in July 2010 by a grand jury on the charge of manslaughter and pleaded guilty to the charge in May 2011.

Bates said Mitchell was sentenced to 173 months in prison by Reynolds, the maximum number of months under the guidelines of the class B felony of manslaughter.

Mitchell’s court appointed defense attorney,could not be reached for comment by press time.

Mitchell was taken into custody on Monday and will be in the Chilton County Jail until she is taken to the state penitentiary.

“We felt like justice was done,” Bates said. “This was a tragic circumstance. There were family members of Gilliam’s in the courtroom who are pillars of this community. He was quite an intriguing man and the whole thing was just tragic.”

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