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Man who admitted to running over 14-year-old girl sentenced

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Albany/HV: Man who admitted to running over 14-year-old girl sentenced
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The Ballston Spa man who admitted to hitting and killing a teenager while she was walking along the road has been sentenced to several years in prison. Our Matt Hunter was in court for the sentencing and has more.


BALLSTON SPA, N.Y. -- It was an emotional day in Saratoga County Court, as Gavin Staulters, the man who last month admitted to driving drunk and killing a 14-year-old girl, appeared before a judge and learned his fate.

"She was 14, she wanted to have a singing career, she wanted to ride horses, she wanted to go to Skidmore and she just wanted to do everything and she won't get to do any of it," said Sarah Liedel, Kari Liedel's mother.

On the morning of July 7th, Kari Liedel seemingly had her whole life ahead of her. That same evening, she would tragically die on the side of a Saratoga County road.

"Nobody should go through this. It's senseless," said Sarah Liedel.

Last month, Gavin Staulters, 22, a former Air Force airman, pleaded guilty to second degree vehicular manslaughter for getting behind the wheel drunk before his car struck and killed Liedel, who was walking along West Milton Road.

On Wednesday in Saratoga County Court, he was sentenced to between two and six years in state prison.

"Six months ago my best friend's life was taken and today's the day he gets his punishment, but I don't think any punishment will ever be sufficient," said Heather Wright, Kari Liedel's friend.

"I think these sentences, in general, are woefully inadequate," James Murphy, (R) Saratoga County District Attorney.

Before Staulters learned his fate, Liedel's mother, Sarah, addressed the packed courtroom. She called Staulters' actions a "blatant disregard for human life" and said every time she drives down the street, all she sees is the driveway where her daughter lost her life.

"I hold my breath every time I drive by, you go quiet because, you know, it's right there," she said.

Staulters was immediately taken into custody. While he could serve the maximum sentence the law allows, Liedel's friends and family say they still feel robbed of justice.

"I feel as though he [Staulters] has remorse, but at the same time, there's not really anything he can say to make me believe he wouldn't go and do it again," said Kortni Liedel, Kari Liedel's sister.

"It's not an accident, it was a conscious decision and it's murder," said Sarah Liedel.

Staulters, who acknowledged he's seeking treatment for alcoholism, wept during Liedel's victim's impact statement. When he addressed the court himself, he apologized for his actions and said, "Not a day goes by I don't think about the accident...it makes me sick to my stomach."

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