Travis Murray apologizes to family; maintains he wasn't racing
"This is what I wake up to and what I go to sleep to. That's all I have left and memories," said Eunice Goo.
In the courtroom, she put her hand on a black box containing the ashes of her nephew, 11-year-old Samuel Kassebeer. On the front of the box was a smiling picture of the young boy.
Just a few feet away stood 22-year-old Travis Murray.
Prosecutors said Murray was racing against Herbert Kaio-Campbell in Waimanalo on July 25, 2010, when Campbell slammed into the car carrying Kassebeer and his two aunties.
"They have just decided say he was racing. He didn't start any race. He was trying to get home," said Murray's attorney Michael Green.
"This family is never going to believe that," he said.
"No, we won't," answered a family member from the galley.
"I understand. I understand that," answered Green.
Kassebeer was ejected from the car and died.
His aunties who were seriously injured, said two years later, the pain and the scars still run deep.
"899 days until today. I have a broken heart because I live without Samuel," said a tearful Goo.
Campbell committed suicide one day before his sentencing in March 2012.
On Tuesday, Murray would learn his sentence, but not before turning to face tearful family members an arm's length away.
"I'm real sorry," he said.
"Tell my Sammy you're sorry," said Kassebeer's grandmother Julie.
"I'm sorry," said Murray.
The judge then sentenced Murray to five years probation and six months behind bars.
"He apologized. It doesn't help, because I don't have Sammy, but at least he said he was sorry," said Julie Kassebeer.
Every year on the day of the crash, she said her family holds signs along the road, telling drivers to not race and to not drink and drive. It is a tradition honored with heavy hearts.
"Their decision to drink drive and race took my life away," said Goo.
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