Submissions on what the appropriate punishment should be for the man who hit and killed an 18-year-old flag worker along Highway 39 have been made.
Keith Dunford was found guilty of dangerous driving causing death in mid-October, after he ran into Ashley Richards in August 2012. Both the Crown prosecutor and Dunford’s defense lawyer made their sentencing arguments in a Weyburn courtroom Friday.
Dressed in a purple shirt and tie, Dunford stood up, reached into his pocket and unfolded a piece of paper.
“I am truly, truly sorry,” he stated inside the courtroom.
The father of a daughter roughly the same age Ashley was when she died, Dunford said the tragic events of that day will be with him for the rest of his life.
Crown Prosecutor Mitchell Miller is asking for three years in jail, along with a five-year ban on driving once Dunford is released. He explained a prolonged span on inattentiveness should be considered an aggravating circumstance.
As part of Miller’s submissions, he read out a number of victim-impact statements from members of Richard’s family.
Ashley’s identical twin sister made a powerful statement. In it, she indicated the other half of who she is was ripped from her. She explained sometimes it was easier acting like Ashley never even existed in the first place. Unreal grief still latched onto her, she admitted she’ll never forgive Dunford for destroying her family’s life.
Richards’ then-fiancé also submitted a letter.
“I lost my life that day,” he wrote.
He indicated he’s cried so hard his eyes have bled. Dunford’s actions killed both him and Ashley that day, he continued, adding that his life is ruined.
Defense Lawyer Aaron Fox thinks Dunford shouldn’t be given any period of incarceration, but instead he believes his client should receive a suspended sentence. That would carry with it a probation period of three years.
“It would be with what we call intense probation so it would be house arrest for an extended period of time, possibly 12 months, and a lengthy driving prohibition, lengthy community service. Sometimes courts impose a fine with it,” explained Fox.
In his submission, he spoke of the unusual circumstances surrounding the incident. Dunford had no previous record, no alcohol was involved in the crash and the driving wasn’t considered to be extreme.
A decision is scheduled for Dec. 4.