Yesterday morning, Rocky Anderson surrendered himself for a nine-day stay in a Dallas County jail.
It's the fifth year in a row that Anderson has been incarcerated over Christmas week, an unorthodox sentence handed down by a judge wanting the impress upon Anderson the sense of loss experienced spending the holidays without family and friends. Anderson is serving the sentence of 180 days over ten years for the alcohol-influenced accident in 2003 that killed ten-year-old Braden Hopkins, Jr.
The strange sentence is cold comfort for Hopkins' parents, Debra Allen and Brady Hopkins, Sr. Allen told a local news station that her family "didn't get the right justice," and the elder Hopkins cried while describing his pain to a reporter:
"I see little kids playing football, and my son's not out there," sobbed Brady Hopkins, Sr., Braden's father. " It hurts."A jury sentenced Anderson to probation, and Judge Vickers Cunningham was only able to tack on an additional 180 days to the original sentence. He ordered that Anderson be jailed for eighteen days a year- once annually for nine days at Christmas and once for nine days at the around the boy's birthday. Still, Judge Cunningham hopes the ruling is of some relief to Brady Hopkins' still grieving family:
"That's pretty tough when you know you have to do that every six months," Cunningham said. "You're going to go to jail for nine days. Everybody else is going to have Christmas, watch football and family, he gets a round steak sandwich.
"He has to prepare for it. He has to anticipate it. He has to worry about it. Maybe when he has children and he has to say 'Well, Daddy's got to go to jail for Christmas,' it hopefully will mean something. That was intended to mean something," he said.