LAFAYETTE — Rebecca Broussard trembled as she looked across the courtroom at the man who killed her daughter and two others in a drunken driving wreck, trying to hold back tears and struggling to give voice to her pain, loss and anger.
“All I have is memories and a picture in a frame,” said Broussard, whose daughter, 14-year-old Cassie Kilby, was killed when Charles Moter slammed into the side of the car she was riding in on La. 343 on Dec. 28, 2013.
Moter, 59, of Duson, was sentenced Thursday to 20 years in prison on three counts of vehicular homicide in the death of Kilby, also of Duson; Kaylin Flyte, a 16-year-old from Crowley who was six months pregnant; and Joe Wise, a 33-year-old from Scott who left behind three young sons.
“He was their hero, their world, their everything,” said Wise’s partner, Ashley Breaux.
Moter pleaded guilty to the charges last month.
He had a blood-alcohol level of 0.18 — more than twice the legal limit of 0.08 — and told 15th Judicial District Judge Glennon Everett on Thursday he could not remember where he was going or why he was even behind the wheel.
“There is nothing I can do, your honor. I’m sorry. I beg your forgiveness and theirs,” said Moter, standing before the judge in shackles.
Moter faced a minimum of five years and maximum of 30 years on each of the vehicular homicide charges.
Everett said he suspects the deaths of three victims will weigh heavily on Moter’s mind for the rest of his life and that the case should serve as a reminder of the dangers of alcohol.
“Our culture here has tolerated drinking and driving for far too long, and both these victims and now you are a result of that tolerance,” the judge told Moter.
That feeling was shared by Wise’s father, Gregory Gaspard, a pastor from Opelousas.
“The root cause is we are selling a drug over the counter that destroys more lives than all the other drugs together,” Gaspard said.
Broussard said she still remembers as if it were yesterday when she learned she would never see her daughter again.
“My body went numb. I just didn’t understand why or how,” she said.
The mother said she is concerned that despite the 20-year prison term, Moter will have a chance at parole before he completes it.
“On behalf of my daughter, I had to forgive him. On my behalf, I think it’s crazy that in 10 years he could be out,” she said.
The three victims were passengers in a car driven by Wise’s brother, Nathaniel Malone, when Moter crashed his pickup truck into the car while trying to pass a vehicle on La. 343 just south of U.S. 90.
Malone told the judge Thursday he still replays the accident in his mind, wondering if perhaps he could have done something different.
He had harsh words when confronting Moter in the courtroom.
“May your time be as long as possible and as hard as possible,” Malone said.
Follow Richard Burgess on Twitter, @rbb100, or call him at (337) 534-4680.