Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

May 16, 2014

Judge gives lenient sentence in fatal hit-and-run

Randall Rector ordered to serve one year house arrest and three years probation.

By Mike Fletcher
Kokomo Tribune

---- — The mother of a 13-year-old boy killed in a hit-and-run crash last year forgave the man responsible and wished him well during his sentencing Friday in Howard Superior Court 4.

The Sept. 12 crash at the intersection of Center Road and Highland Springs Drive claimed the life of 13-year-old Christian Reede and seriously injured Donte Brown, also 13. The two were riding a mo-ped when they were struck by a truck driven by 59-year-old Randall Rector.

“I know what occurred was an accident,” Renae Reede, Christian Reede’s mother, said on the stand.

“I know in my heart he didn’t see the mo-ped and he did not intentionally hit them. I forgive you for not stopping,” she continued. “I know you must have been scared and afraid.”

When asked by McCann what sentence Rector should receive, Renae declined to make a recommendation.

“This situation is bigger than me,” she told the judge. “It’s in the hands of the judicial system and God. My wish is this will draw you closer to God.”

Rector pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of a crash resulting in death, a Class C felony, and leaving the scene of an accident causing serious bodily injury, a Class D felony, as part of a plea agreement in the case.

After hearing from Rector and Reede’s mother, Judge George Hopkins sentenced Rector to four years on the C felony and three years on the D felony to run concurrently. Instead of sending Rector to prison, Hopkins suspended all but one year of the sentence and ordered Rector to serve the year on in-home detention, followed by three years of supervised probation.

Prior to sentencing, Rector, with his family and friends seated in the gallery, tearfully apologized to the families of Reede and Brown.

“I’m so heartbroken over what transpired and how it affected the families,” he said softly. “I’m so sorry for all the grief this has caused. Please forgive me.”

After calling Renae Reede to the stand, Howard County Prosecutor Mark McCann urged the judge to sentence Rector to a consecutive term, which would have resulted in a seven-year executed sentence.

Rodney Shrock, Rector’s attorney, urged the judge to give Rector a suspended sentence with either in-home detention or probation instead of prison time, stating that Rector has been through enough.

Shrock also pointed out Rector has no criminal convictions on his record and is not a risk at re-offending.

“If you think he hasn’t punished himself already, you’re wrong,” Shrock said.

The only evidence Shrock presented was Rector’s unsworn statement.

A Class C felony, reckless homicide charge also filed in the case was dismissed as part of the plea.

According to police, Rector failed to stop after hitting the mo-ped driven by Christian Reede. Brown, a passenger on the moped, suffered serious injuries to his leg and is recovering. Neither he nor his family testified at Rector’s sentencing.

Police learned of Rector’s identity a week after the accident, after police say he tried to commit suicide. Officers then searched his home on Highland Springs Drive and discovered Rector’s damaged truck, the charging information stated.

Rector was given credit for 62 days he served in the Howard County jail after his arrest.

Mike Fletcher can be reached at 765-454-8565 or mike.fletcher@kokomotribune.com