This morning a 9 a.m. Billy Lane was in court in Viera, Florida to hear sentencing regarding the vehicular homicide case in connection with a September 4, 2006 crash that left Gerald Morelock dead. (The Live Video of the full Court proceedings and sentencing was online in my Blog all morning).
As expected, defense lawyer Greg Eisenmenger asked for a non-incarcerating sentence and presented a list of witnesses, including Billy’s mother and father arguing that what happened was an isolated incident, that Billy is very remorseful, has radically changed his lifestyle and reached out to the Morelock’s family since the tragedy happened. Eisenmenger also presented videos of the charity work done by Billy during his motorcycle builder career and argued that the sentence decided must give some punishment but not to the point of incarceration because it would prevent Billy to continue helping others in the community and in the motorcycle industry.
Then, a very emotional Billy Lane, choking back tears, talked to the judge to take full responsibility for what happened, for the death of Gerald Morelock, saying that except reaching out to the Morelock family and continuing charity work, unfortunately there was nothing he could do. He also talked about his pain when he drove every day through the place where the accident happened. Billy said “I’m not looking for pity on myself. I pray to God for his soul and for his family.”
After a 20 minutes recess, Circuit Judge Robert Burger announced sentencing. 6 years in prison followed by 3 years of probation, his drivers license suspended for life, a 10-day DUI level 1 course (that Billy already completed), to attend a Victims Awareness Panel, and also ordered Lane to undergo random drug and alcohol testing upon his release from prison. Billy Lane was immediately handcuffed and escorted from the courtroom. Billy Lane, 39, faced up to nine years in prison. He has 30 days to appeal this sentencing.
On a personal note I will only say again that at some point in our lives, we all make mistakes with more or less consequence. Billy made a bad decision on September 4, 2006, and he cannot take it back. Billy, his friends, family & Gerald Morelock’s friends & family will all have to live with this tragedy for the rest of their lives. Public image can be quite different from reality and many of you are wrong about their perception of who the real Billy is. I consider Billy a brother of my industry, a fellow builder, and I am convinced that as soon as it will be possible for him to do so, Billy will act proactively to turn the lesson of this tragedy into a positive message for others. My thoughts to the Morelock & Lane families. Billy, I stand by you like you would stand for us. When you get out we will welcome you back in the motorcycle industry. Cyril.