An 18-year-old has been sentenced to six years in prison after he drove drunk and crashed into a Decatur home, starting a fire that killed a great-grandmother.
Micaiah Gene Barton had previously pleaded guilty in the Macon County Circuit Court to aggravated driving under the influence causing death.
His lawyer Thomas Wheeler negotiated a plea deal that capped his prison sentence at a maximum of 12 years with only 85 percent to be served.
Barton cried last week as he apologized to the family of Mary D. Hinton, an 87-year-old who died on the night of November 22, 2019.
The elderly woman was at home alone and sleeping when the car burst into the living room of her 2368 E. Locust St. home. It severed the gas lines, and this fed the flames.
Barton, who was 17 at the time, had only been granted his driver’s license the day before and he became drunk while celebrating.
He told Hinton’s family that he didn’t mean to take a life and if he could take back the accident, he would.
The teenager pleaded for forgiveness and an opportunity to make amends.
Hinton’s daughter Sheryl Rhodes read a victim impact statement in which she said it broke her heart to know that her mother died alone.
Meanwhile, Barton’s court-appointed special advocate, Melanie Schelling, said he grew up in appalling circumstances with an absent father and a drug-addicted mother who died when he was in the 7th grade. She told the court he was homeless for long periods with no one to care for him.
Barton’s lawyer asked Judge Jeffrey Geisler to consider sentencing the teen to probation or a prison term of three years at most.
However, Assistant State’s Attorney Elizabeth Pfohl asked for the teenager to get the full 12 years. She said having a difficult childhood didn’t excuse his actions.
In delivering the sentence, Geisler said a Barton had to be punished severely.
If you’re in a wreck involving a drunk driver, contact our Georgia car accident attorneys right away.