Holt Teen Sentenced to Prison For Four to 15 Years For Drunk Driving Accident

By: Jamie Edmonds Email
By: Jamie Edmonds Email

"He has a sister who will only know him through pictures and stories we will tell her," Dalia Luera-Harris, the mother of Anthony Harris, said.

You could openly hear family, friends, and classmates sobbing in the courtroom Wednesday as the parents of the three Holt teenagers killed in the January drunk driving accident talked about their children.

"Taylyr was an opinionated, quick-witted, kind young man who loved his family very much," Joye Cochran, Taylyr's mother, said. "His absence leaves a crater that will never be filled."

It was the final step in the legal process for the driver - 17-year-old Brett Johnson - who admitted to making a critical error in judgment on January 30th, driving too fast, without headlights, and under the influence.

"It was the worst mistake of my life and because of it I lost my three close friends," Brett Johnson told the judge. "I'm so sorry to the Cochran, Bossenbery and Harris families for all the pain I've caused."

Even in their grief, Taylyr Cochran and Anthony Harris' mothers expressed their forgiveness to their sons' friend.

Holly Bossenbery's mom and dad did not go as far, still clearly distraught that Johnson did not take their daughter's offer to drive the car.

"I can only imagine my daughter screaming to slow down, and him disregarding the plea," Christine Bossenbery, Holly's mother, said. "I'm sure she knew for those few seconds things were not right."

"I still don't know why Holly got into that car, but you're responsible," Mark Bossenbery said to Johnson, "and you should not have driven. Your honor, he killed my daughter, my Holly."

Before she made her final decision, the judge herself got choked up.

"I know a lot of people in here are shedding tears, I'm human also," Judge Manderfield said.

Ultimately she sentenced Johnson to four to 15 years in prison as well as to pay thousands of dollars in restitution. But as the families all said Wednesday, no money or length of punishment will bring their kids back.

Johnson's attorneys did ask the judge for leniency due to his young age and his actions since the accident, including talking to the entire school about his bad decision. Frank Reynolds, Johnson's lead attorney, said they will not be appealing the sentence.

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