A County judge in Pinellas sentenced Demetrius Jordan, 22-year-old to 44 years in imprison on four counts of DUI manslaughter.
Traffic investigators said Jordan was speeding up to 92 miles per hour as he approached the intersection of 22 Avenue North and Dr. Martin Luther King Street in St. Petersburg. The accident report shows Jordan had a blood alcohol level nearly twice the legal limit from a cocktail of gin and Four LoKo - a caffeine and alcohol mix. Jordan had also been smoking marijuana.
The McConnell men were on vacation, celebrating the youngest McConnell's 19th birthday. The men were returning from a guy's night out to the movies when the accident happened. Jordan pleaded guilty to the charges in June, just before his trial was scheduled to begin.
However, Jordan's mother said it was an accident, a young man's poor decision one night. "I want you to give him some mercy," said Alice Jordan, Demetrius' mother. "It was a mistake, it was a mistake," said Alice. She was hoping to get a lenient sentencing but, the judge thought otherwise, perhaps to serve as a lesson to other reckless youths.
Jordan's attorney also pleaded for allocutus saying it was an isolated incident, an accident at the hand of a young man with no criminal record. In the end, the judge could not overlook the seriousness of the crime or the impact it has had on the McConnell family.
"Everyday I pray for the strength to get through my day without my children," says Lisa Stokes, the mother of Elroy and Nathan McConnell.
Lisa told the judge her life has not been the same since that night, August 2010. Stokes said, "They were great men, loved their family, had good careers and loved their children ... they were my children and my friends"
The final plea came from Demetrius Jordan himself. "I am terribly sorry," said Demetrius. "It hurts my heart, I know I took four lives, I take full responsibility for what I've done. I don't remember what happened, I am lost." Demetrius told the judge that he will have to come to face his Lord for what he has done.
Jordan's family said they are at peace with the judge's decision.
The McConnells hope others will learn a lesson from their loss and that is not to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.