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Man sentenced in sister’s death

BY KEITH EPPS

A Spotsylvania County man who killed his sister while driving drunk 15 months ago was ordered Tuesday to serve four years behind bars.

Charles Raymond Bailey Jr., 33, had a blood alcohol content of .36 on Oct. 29, 2010, when he crashed a 1993 Saturn Ion into an embankment at the intersection of Loriella Park Drive and Ascot Circle.

His sister, 43-year-old Ruth Henderson, died in the single-vehicle crash, which occurred about 11:30 p.m.

Bailey previously pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and driving while intoxicated.

Judge Joseph  J.  Ellis sentenced Bailey to 10 years with all but three suspended on the manslaughter charge, and 12 months in jail on the drunken-driving conviction.

Ellis’ sentence exceeded the recommended state sentencing guidelines, which call for an active sentence of 10 months to two years and 11 months.

It also went against the pleas of Bailey’s family members, who asked that he be released as soon as possible.

Defense attorney Sarah Abernathy requested home incarceration for her client, who lives with his mother.

Prosecutor Crystal Montague–Holland argued that Bailey remains a danger to the public and deserved a stiff penalty.

She pointed out that in a presentence report Bailey listed “drinking alcohol” as one of his hobbies and said family members who were pleading for his release Tuesday had been among those providing the alcohol.

During the investigation into Henderson’s death, court records state, Bailey said he was prone to seizures and didn’t remember the accident.

But he denied drinking while driving that night, though his blood alcohol content was more than four times  the legal limit.

Ellis also recommended that Bailey be placed in therapy while in prison.

Keith Epps: 540/374-5404

kepps@freelancestar.com

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