For the second time, a man who killed a Madison County couple two years ago when he ran over their motorcycle while driving drunk — and laughed about it — has been sentenced to prison for the crash.
Timothy Ackley, 34, admitted that he drank at a Columbus golf course all day on April 7, 2012, before getting into his pickup and heading out, eventually onto Madison County’s Rt. 142.
State Highway Patrol troopers say that Ackley was driving at least 80 mph when he lost control of his pickup, sending it airborne and into the Williamses’ motorcycle.
Mark Williams, 56, and his wife, 51-year-old Jo Ann Williams, were coming from a church baptism at Madison Lake and heading to their West Jefferson home. Both died at the scene.
The crash drew attention, in part, because cruiser cameras recorded Ackley standing over the bodies and saying horrible things about the couple. He laughed and made racial comments about a black state trooper who responded, and he claimed affiliation with the Ku Klux Klan.
Even after he’d seen the bodies, investigators said, he waved away passers-by who stopped and tried to help. Police say he wanted time to flee but didn’t get the chance.
In October 2012, Ackley pleaded guilty in Madison County Common Pleas Court to two counts of aggravated vehicular homicide and was sentenced to 16 years in prison. An appeals court, however, overturned his conviction this year, saying that then-Judge Robert D. Nichols did not, as required, tell Ackley that a prison sentence was mandatory.
So yesterday, Ackley, of London, was back in court and pleaded guilty again.
Visiting Judge Steven P. Beathard sentenced him to 14 years in prison. With credit for the time he already has served, he will spend about 12 more years behind bars.
The families of Mark and Jo Ann Williams agreed to the plea deal to avoid the pain of a trial, and to spare the witnesses of the crash from reliving it, said Nick Adkins, an assistant Madison County prosecutor.
Ann Neal, Jo Ann Williams’ mother, reminded Ackley in court yesterday that her daughter — who worked as a nurse at Maryhaven in Columbus treating alcoholics and addicts — would have helped him if he’d ever come her way.
Ackley, who has a lengthy criminal record, apologized in court: “I’m sorry you have to go through this one more time.”
But Neal said that wasn’t enough.
“One day you will stand before God and give an account for all the pain and heartache you’ve caused for so many people,” she told Ackley. “And that, Timothy, will be your final judgment.”
By Holly Zachariah - The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio (MCT)
©2014 The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio)
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