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Drunk driver who killed local woman gets 15 years

Marci Thompson’s loved ones are still grieving.

On Tuesday, a superior court judge in Houston County sentenced the man who killed her while driving drunk on I-75 last year to 12 years in prison and three years on probation.

“Nobody has any idea how hard this has been on all of us,” said Marci’s mother Vickie Belcher. “Our lives will never be the same.”

The man who killed Marci entered a guilty plea to charges of vehicular homicide in the first degree, hit and run, dui, and reckless driving. The prosecutor in the case refused to negotiate a plea deal with the drunk-driving killer, according to Al Thompson, Marci’s widower.

“The district attorney told [the defendant] and his lawyer that she would go for the highest possible sentence the judge could give,” said Thompson, who is a detective with the Crisp County Sheriff’s Office. He said the maximum was 17 years in prison, and the 15 years (three probated) was a pleasant surprise, considering the defense attorney asked the judge for a 10-year sentence.

“But it’s about Marci and it needs to stay about Marci,” Thompson said. “He will never serve the same sentence that he gave Marci.”

Belcher said the fact that her daughter’s killer has been sentenced doesn’t ease the pain of loss.

“Wednesday after the sentencing hearing we were so emotionally drained we couldn’t do anything. We had to relive everything and it was really exhausting,” she said.

Both Belcher and Thompson said their primary concern now is Marci’s daughter Madilynn.

“I’ve known Marci since 9th grade and I’ve known Madilynn her whole life. It’s been hard on everyone in the family, but it’s really been hard on her,” Thompson said. “She’s a precious child who lost her mother just a week after she graduated high school, and that’s a terrible thing.”

Madilynn went to Andrew College in the fall of last year on a soccer scholarship. Despite her mother’s death just two months prior to beginning her college studies, she has soldiered on, said Belcher.

“Now there were many nights that she called me from college crying, but she is strong,” Belcher said.

The family will mark the 16-month anniversary of Marci’s passing on October 3.