Verdigris Man To Be Released Early In Deaths Of Father, Infant Son
CLAREMORE, Oklahoma - A man convicted of driving drunk and killing two people, will spend six and a half more years in prison before being paroled.
That decision by a Rogers County judge didn't make either side happy, but, as he said in court, this is case has no easy answers.
Keaton Hannah had just turned 18 when he got drunk and slammed head-on into a car, killing 21-year-old Eric Watkins and his eight-month-old son, Bryor. Hannah was sentenced to 20 years in prison for two counts of manslaughter for killing both in 2011.
Once he's out, the judge ordered him to speak to every high school in Rogers County plus five more, about the dangers of drinking and driving.
To the victim's family, 10 years is nothing, 50 wouldn't be enough.
"I went from having everything in the world I always wanted, to being left with nothing," said Ginger Watkins, Eric's wife and Bryor's mother.
The judge pointed out, had the fatal crash happened two weeks earlier, Hannah would have been 17 and the max he could've served was 10 years.
Hannah's attorney, Jack Gordon Jr. said Hannah is a great kid from a good family who is extremely remorseful. He said Hannah had never been in trouble or had taken drank before. He said he made a terrible decision, to drive drunk and is paying for that decision, and isn't doing anyone any good sitting in prison.
"I think he could do a lot of good out," Gordon said.
Eric Watkins was 21 years old and married to his high school sweetheart when he was killed. His son was eight months old, both were innocent and had their whole lives ahead of them.
"I didn't get to spend his first birthday with my son. I had to go to the freaking cemetery. I had to buy a headstone for his first birthday," Ginger Watkins said.
They believe reducing Hannah's sentence sends a terrible message to other teenagers that it's okay to drink and drive and kill. They don't believe the fact he's sorry changes anything.
"I hated him with a passion. I hated Keaton so bad, but he might be remorseful, but, that does not make up for what he has caused," Ginger said.
The Watkins family has filed a lawsuit against Hannah and his family and anyone who bought him drinks, allowed him to drink at their house or contributed to the fatal crash in any way.