Tulsa Woman Sentenced To 107 Years In Prison

Tuesday, September 1st 2009, 12:56 pm
By: News On 6

By Jeffrey Smith, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- On Tuesday, convicted drunk driver Kimberly Graham learned she'll spend the rest of her life behind bars. 

At Tuesday's sentencing, a Tulsa County District Court judge opened up the floor for the family of the five victims to speak.

A jury this spring convicted Graham of killing five people in a hit-and-run drunk driving crash.  But, it's what Graham herself said or more precisely, didn't say that still has some family members in disbelief.

Kimberly Graham was convicted on five counts of first-degree manslaughter.  She plowed her SUV into a crowd of people gathered in the street to help a fallen motorcyclist.  DeAnna and Ronny Coatney, Casey Jones, Anita Foote, and Shannon Lacey all died outside an east Tulsa bar.

"It is a weight off my shoulders for sure to know that she won't ever see the outside of a jail cell again," said victim's sister, Bobbi Nickel.

Graham told police that she had one mixed drink, two shots, and six beers that night.  She took the stand in her own defense during the trial, testifying she was not drunk, and overestimated what she drank.

Prosecutors didn't buy it and questioned her decision to drive off without stopping.  They also played a tape recording where she admitted to a friend that she was drunk.         

The jury agreed.

"She has always maintained this was not her fault," said victim's mother, Sheila Lacey.

District Judge Thornbrugh twice asked Graham if she would like to address the families of the victims.  Twice, she declined.

"It would have been nice to hear her say, exactly like the judge said, just a simple, ‘I'm sorry.' Just those two words would make a big difference for us all, I think," said victim's sister, Bobbi Nickel.

Graham's attorneys said she didn't see the victims because they were crouched low in the street in the dark and they had also been drinking that night in the bar.

"What am I to take from that argument? That the victims had it coming?" asked Judge Thornbrugh.

"The holidays, the birthdays, are not the same.  Yeah, just spending time with my dad," said victim's son, Corbin Lacey.

For family members, the journey to justice is over.  But, they feel the pain every day.

Kimberly Graham's family said they had no comment following the sentencing, although her parents and relatives left the courtroom in tears.

Graham's father did speak with The News On 6 the day his daughter was convicted in March.  That video is posted at the right.

3/12/2009 Related story: Kimberly Graham Found Guilty On All Counts

5/8/2009  Related Story: Kimberly Graham's Request For New Judge Denied