Hit-and-run killer argued for boot camp or less prison time

Last updated: June 11. 2014 11:40PM - 1663 Views
By - rdupuis@civitasmedia.com

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WILKES-BARRE — A Luzerne County Judge has denied a hit-and-run driver’s request for a lesser sentence in the death of a 5-year-old boy.

Thomas W. Letteer Jr., 24, in May was sentenced to serve two to five years in prison for running over Kevin Miller on Dec. 21, 2012. In paperwork filed last week, Letteer asked Judge Joseph Sklarosky Jr. to consider both a lesser sentence and possibly boot camp.

The defendant’s motion, filed on Letteer’s behalf by attorneys Allyson Kacmarski and Paul Galante, also alleges that Sklarosky improperly allowed testimony about Letteer consuming alcohol the night of the crash when Letteer was sentenced on May 1.

Sklarosky on Tuesday denied Letteer’s request, according to court documents.

Letteer has 30 days to appeal Sklarosky’s denial to state Superior Court.

The Plains Township man is incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution Camp Hill in Cumberland County, according to the state Department of Corrections website.

His case has led to renewed calls for state lawmakers to increase the penalty for leaving the scene of fatal hit-and-run incidents.

Currently, DUI homicides carry a three-year mandatory minimum prison sentence. Leave the scene, and suspects face only a one-year minimum sentence if caught.

The state House Transportation Committee earlier this month approved an amendment to a Senate vehicle code bill, proposed by state Rep. Mike Carroll, D-Avoca, that would impose a three-year minimum sentence. The bill is still working its way through the legislature.

While Kevin’s death was not the only local case fueling the desire for change, the issue took on renewed prominence after Letteer’s sentencing, when Kevin’s family joined Carroll, prosecutors and other area lawmakers — including state Sen. Lisa Baker, R-Lehman Township, and state Rep. Tarah Toohil, R-Butler Township — at a press conference calling on state legislators to change the law.

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