Man gets 20-year prison sentence in deaths of Lexington couple

gkocher1@herald-leader.comMay 13, 2013 

— GEORGETOWN — A Georgetown man was sentenced Monday to 20 years in prison for killing a Lexington couple in a traffic accident in 2010.

Jeff Bailey, 48, pleaded guilty in March to two counts of second-degree manslaughter. He survived a head-on crash June 30, 2010, that killed Brian Keith Way, 32, and Way's girlfriend, Anna Hamilton, 29.

According to a state police investigation, Bailey was under the influence of drugs and driving north in a southbound lane when his Ford pickup collided with a Toyota pickup driven by Way.

The wreck occurred on U.S. 25 in Scott County, about 2 miles north of the Fayette County line. Bailey had driven about 10 miles in the wrong lane before the crash.

Scott Circuit Judge Paul Isaacs sentenced Bailey to 10 years on each count of second-degree manslaughter, to be served consecutively.

Bailey would be eligible for parole in four years, said Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Keith Eardley. That doesn't necessarily mean he would be paroled, but that would be the earliest date for possible parole.

The sentence was pronounced after the judge heard from relatives of Way and Hamilton during a two-hour session.

Frank Hamilton, father of Anna Hamilton, said she and Way probably would have married. He said he forgives Bailey, "but that doesn't mean I think his actions should go unpunished."

Gale Smith, Way's mother, said she could not forgive.

"I know the Hamiltons are trying to forgive right now. I can't," Smith said. "I hurt too much."

Several relatives said they were disappointed that Bailey had not shown remorse during his court appearances. Defense attorney John Cornett said Bailey had written a letter taking responsibility for the crash, but Cornett prevented his client from sending the letter because it could have been used against Bailey at trial.

"The remorse he demonstrated today is genuine," Cornett said.

Bailey's father, Edison Bailey, said his son had dined with his parents before the wreck, and he had not appeared impaired in any way.

"Had there been any indication that something was wrong, I would not have allowed him to go," Edison Bailey said.

Jeff Bailey also took the stand. He acknowledged that an investigation determined he had ingested Oxycodone and Benadryl, but he doesn't remember how he came to take those or who might have given him the drugs. He said he suffered from migraine headaches that left him incoherent and unable to function.

Cornett said the investigation also determined that the drugs were in low levels in Bailey's system.

In any case, Bailey said he can't fathom what the Hamilton and Way families have gone through during the past three years.

"What I'm feeling, nothing compares to their loss," he said.

Bailey said his attorney and others had counseled him to fight the charges and go to trial. But Bailey said repeatedly, "Those two kids are dead, and I caused it."

In addition to the recent charges, Bailey was convicted of bank robbery and kidnapping in 1987 and was paroled in 1991, Eardley said.

Frank Hamilton had no comment after the proceeding other than to say he was satisfied.

Greg Kocher: (859) 231-3305.Twitter: @HLpublicsafety.

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