DA on Anderson ruling: 'It's just a bad verdict'

DA on Anderson ruling: 'It's just a bad verdict'

JONES COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - An Ellisville man charged with being under the influence during a two-vehicle crash that killed a Jones County teenager and possession of methamphetamine will spend the next 18 years behind bars.

Steven Anderson was in court facing drug possession and distribution charges and a felony DUI charge for colliding with and killing 19-year-old Isaac Holloway in April 2015. On Tuesday, Anderson was found not guilty of killing Holloway, but was convicted for driving under the influence.

"This is an absolute travesty for this kind of a person to have got away with the main charge," Jones County District Attorney Tony Buckley said. "He is everyone's worst nightmare to meet on the road. He's the poster child, and the poster child got away with it. This is not a good time for anybody in the state."

Jones County Circuit Court Judge Dal Williamson sentenced Anderson Wednesday to the maximum conviction for DUI - 48 hours in jail and a $1,000 fine.

"Shocking," Buckley said. "That's the maximum sentence from the jury verdict. I've been trying criminal cases for 25 years. I had a great case. I had great witnesses. It's my understanding from two close sources that there was one juror, just one, that would not vote guilty even if I had a video tape. This occurs. I have no control over jurors. I've had a postmortem in this case. There's nothing I could do differently in this case. Great evidence, great witnesses, great presentation by my staff and myself. It's just a bad verdict. I'm gutted for the family."

Buckley presented three previous convictions to establish Anderson as a habitual offender, and Williamson said the state did prove "beyond a reasonable doubt" Anderson's status as such.

"I don't know what went wrong in your life, but it looks to me like in sometime around 2011, your life entered into an evil, downward spiral," Williamson said.

Buckley said, "Absolutely he doesn't need to be getting out on earned release or parole for good behavior. He needs to stay there day for day."

Anderson was also charged with possession of meth, but was exonerated of intent to distribute.

Williamson sentenced Anderson to serve eight years day for day the full-time custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections and be fined $25,000 for possession of meth. That sentence will begin when the 10-year sentence Anderson is currently serving for drug possession ends.

"I hope you realize the evil that is associated with methamphetamine in our society today," Williamson said. "It is ruining lives in our society today, and whether you possess it or sell it or whatever, you are enabling those that manufacture it. When you do that, you're making the world a worse place to live in, and the court takes a very dim view of that. I hope, sir, that you will use this time that you are incarcerated to reflect on your life and reflect on how you're going to live your life once you get through with this time. You need to think about your family, your children, and you need to think about whether you're going to make the world a worse place to live or a better place to live. I hope you reflect on that."

Buckley said, "The sentence (Wednesday) will be a total of 18 mandatory years day for day. That's a long time. He won't get out until 2034, but I understand, it's not long enough."

Williamson also ordered Anderson to complete the Mississippi Department of Corrections alcohol and drug safety education program.

"You've got to get back on the horse and get back into court when you get knocked down," Buckley said. "And have faith that the remaining juries will follow the law and find people guilty."