Ashley Nicole McGraw, Reginald Dewayne Smith and Dalvin Stephens
Ashley Nicole McGraw took the opportunity while on the stand in her sentencing hearing Monday to apologize to a Washington County deputy who was struck in January 2012 by a car in which she was a passenger.
McGraw, 20, was 18 years old and 16 weeks pregnant Jan. 2, 2012, when Dalvin Stephens, 20, was driving a car she was riding in that hit Deputy Gary Daugherty.
“I would just like to say that I truly am sorry,” she said when asked by her attorney if she wanted to address Daugherty, who was in the courtroom with his family. She continued by saying that it was hard to look at him knowing all the pain he has gone through.
She prayed each night for him, she said.
McGraw, Stephens and Reginald Dewayne Smith, 43, were convicted in May of running down Daugherty while fleeing an attempted robbery of two men.
McGraw was sentenced to four years on the attempted robbery charges and one year on the reckless endangerment charge stemming from hitting Daugherty but she was allowed to walk out of the courtroom on Monday. She will serve her time under house arrest in an alternative community corrections program.
Stephens was sentenced to five years in prison on each of two counts of attempted aggravated robbery, two years for aggravated assault and two years for reckless endangerment.
Smith was sentenced to six years on each of the attempted robbery counts and 18 months on the reckless endangerment charge.
Both men’s sentences are to run concurrently, so Smith would serve six years and Stephens would serve five. Both were returned to custody after Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood sentenced them on Monday in Washington County Criminal Court.
The charges stem from incidents that police say started with a robbery, led to a police pursuit and ended with Daugherty being hit by the car driven by Stephens.
In the trial last month, the jury heard testimony from two men, Eric McElyea and Daniel Hylmon, the two men who said Smith came into their home on Sand Valley Road with a gun and demanded money and drugs.
Smith eventually left with neither. McElyea and Hylmon got a description of the vehicle Smith got into and called 911.
Deputy Lee Cross got behind the car, a red Cavalier, and attempted to stop it on Highway 81S. Cross testified that he was in radio contact with Daugherty, who had set up to throw out spike strips in an attempt to flatten the vehicle’s tires.
But as the vehicle approached Daugherty’s position as the officer was throwing out the strip, the vehicle veered to the left and hit Daugherty.
Smith’s defense attorney, Jerry Fabus, contends his client was actually trying to miss the strip and Daugherty when the officers stumbled back and into the path of the car.
The trio will be eligible for parole after serving 30 percent of their sentences. Stephens and Smith do have some jail credit toward their sentences.
District Attorney Tony Clark said he was happy that the defendants were sentenced to more than the minimum sentences by Blackwood.
Daugherty returned to work in February after a lengthy recovery. Clark said he had four surgeries and will have chronic medical problems as a result of the crash.
Daugherty said after the hearing that he was much better now.
“There are really no winners in this whole thing,” he said. “I look at them and they’re the age of my son and think that, you know, a life’s been changed and several lives have been changed. So I don’t look at this as a victory of any sort. I just think there’s no real winners in this and I hope they can get things turned around.”
In arguing for probation for McGraw, her attorney pointed out that she has gotten a full-time job at a local fast food restaurant and has gained custody of her now nearly 1-year-old son since leaving jail.