A Culpeper County judge has upheld the 17-year-plus jail sentence of a Spotsylvania man convicted in last year’s fatal hit-and-run wreck in Culpeper.
Earl Jackson Nicholson Jr., 39, overdosed on drugs while driving on Sperryville Pike on Nov. 19, 2019. His car crossed the center and struck another car head-on. Culpeper motorist Pamela Mozingo, 54, died in the crash; her two adult sons sustained serious injuries.
Nicholson was seriously injured and transported by ambulance, but he walked away upon arriving at the local hospital and was later found in a Unionville home. His blood tested positive for nearly double the fatal level of fentanyl, morphine, cocaine, methamphetamine and amphetamine.
The defendant pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, two counts of felony maiming and DUI per a deal with prosecutors, and was sentenced in June. Culpeper prosecutors at sentencing asked Judge Susan Whitlock to send a message that such behavior would not tolerated in Culpeper, and she did.
Whitlock, who has since retired, handed down a sentence of 17 years and six months in prison after hearing from the deceased woman’s mother about the pain of losing her daughter.
Defense attorney James Reid filed a motion to reconsider after sentencing, stating that his client had no previous DUIs or convictions indicating he had a reckless disregard for human life. The defense attorney said Nicholson has three children, including 2-year-old twins, one sick in the hospital since birth.
Reid argued the jail sentence exceeded high-end guidelines by nearly eight years and asked the court to re-sentence Nicholson within the lower guidelines, court records state.
Culpeper prosecutors, responding to the defense motion to reconsider, said that while the sentence exceeded guidelines, it was below the statutory maximum for the offense, court records state.
The prosecution also said the defense motion provided no new information that the judge did not have at sentencing.
On Aug. 7, Judge Dale Durrer upheld Whitlock’s sentence and denied the defense motion. He referenced the facts of the case as well as the victim impact statement given by the victim’s mother.
Mozingo’s mother said at sentencing that she still finds herself waking up at 2 a.m., the same time she received the call from law enforcement informing her of her daughter’s death.
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