Reduced sentence still stands for man convicted in fatal DUI

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A reduced sentence still stands for a 20-year-old man convicted of killing a 72-year-old woman in a DUI car wreck, according to court records released on Thursday.

Samuel McCauley will serve a reduced sentence of five years for reckless homicide and felony DUI for the July 24, 2011 incident that killed 72-year-old Eleanor Caperton.

McCauley had originally been sentenced to 10 years after pleading guilty to the two charges, and in May the sentenced was cut in half, according to prosecutors who said they were not told of the reduced sentence at the time.

Officials with Mothers Against Drunk Driving released a statement, following a court hearing on Thursday which kept the reduced sentence intact, saying they were "outraged at the actions of Retired Circuit Court Judge Tommy Hughston," who sentenced McCauley and later agreed to the reduction.

According to prosecutors, the court signed an amended sentencing sheet on May 20 which reduced McCauley's original sentence of 10 years in prison to five years. The prosecutor's office said McCauley's original sentence was slashed in half, and McCauley and the state were not notified of the reduced sentences.

"The court's approach to re-sentencing the Defendant threatens the integrity of our criminal justice system," Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson stated in a motion filed last month."The court did not preserve and protect the victims' rights to justice and due process and could not be considered as treating the victims with fairness, respect and dignity."

According to court officials, McCauley had been drinking heavily on July 24, 2011 during a party on a boat at a marina before the deadly accident. Investigators say McCauley's car was going the wrong way on I-26 early near downtown Charleston just after midnight when the incident happened.

According to police, McCauley's Nissan Maxima then crashed into a Honda Civic driven by Caperton. Prosecutors say McCauley was traveling 60 mph in a 35 mph zone at the time of the impact.

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