Jabari Kemp, 23, of Pompano, Florida, was sentenced to 30 years in prison after causing the Rivera Beach car crash that took the lives of five innocent people, according to the Palm Beach Post. In April 2013, Kemp was travelling in his black Mercedes at 128 mph on an interstate 95 exit ramp when he struck a 1994 Lexus that was headed east on Blue Heron Boulevard.
Upon impact, four of the five passengers, 22-year-old Orane Cummings, Shonteria Grimsley, 17, Christina Oliver-Joseph, 16, and Makita Campbell, 14, were ejected from the Lexus and died at the scene. The driver, 21-year-old Jason Mahlung, died a short time later after being rushed to a local hospital.
Kemp was later arrested and initially charged with DUI manslaughter after traces of THC, which is an active ingredient in marijuana, were found in his system. However, during his trial in June, prosecutors were forced to drop the charge after finding an error in the test results, reported NBC Miami.
“I caused a mind-boggling collision that took the lives of five innocent people,” Kemp said as he fought back tears in court. “I just wish that I could turn back the hands of time.”
Kemp’s trial lasted for several weeks until the jury found him guilty of five counts of vehicle manslaughter, “rejecting his testimony” that he lost control of his vehicle as a result of passing out. His attorney, Leonard Feuer, pleaded with the judge for leniency, asking for 15 years in prison and 10 years of probation. However, prosecutors wanted the maximum – 46 years in prison.
In court, Judge John Kastrenakes said that he “watched his [Kemp] demeanor at sentencing and I found that he was sincerely remorseful,” and as a result, he sentenced the Pampano man to 30 years in prison – six years for each victim. The sentencing, which could have been 75 years in prison, gives Kemp the opportunity to return to society.
“At that time, I hope and trust and pray that you will have turned your life around,” the judge told Kemp.
“Unfortunately, for all of us here in this courtroom today, Mr. Kemp’s reckless decision-making, in choosing to drive in excess of 120 mph and running through a red light, resulted in the loss of five totally innocent lives,” Kastrenakes said. “And now five other families will never be the same.”
Kemp’s mother was seen leaving the courtroom, sobbing with a white napkin covering her face after the judge gave his verdict. She left no comments, but earlier she asked the victims’ family to forgive her son as he did not intend to kill anyone on that fateful day.
However, some of the family members stated that they would never forgive Jabari Kemp for causing the death of five innocent people. After he was sentenced to 30 years in prison, they claim that justice was served.
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