Maximum for manslaughter

Published 12:05 am Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Judge Lex Short heard heart-wrenching testimony Tuesday from a teenager whose last words to her mother were “I hate you” before imposing the maximum penalty for manslaughter on David Wiltshire.

In November, Wiltshire was found guilty of two counts of manslaughter in the 2007 deaths of his fiancée, Christy Wright Still, 34, of Evergreen, and Deanna VanGieson of Theodore, an orthopedic nurse who worked in Andalusia.

Kelsey Still, who was 11 when her mother died, testified that Wiltshire and her mother had driven her from Evergreen to an appointment in Brewton on the day of the accident. She said that she and her mother argued that day.

“The last thing I said to her was ‘I hate you,’ ” she said. “I never got to say ‘I love you’ after that.

“When we got the call about the wreck, I knew that my mama was gone,” she said. “My grandmama is my mama now.”

Kelsey Still testified that she has trust issues and abandonment issues.

“And I don’t think I’ll ever get over it,” she said.

Christy Still’s mother, Brenda Wright, a nurse, also testified about the night she saw her daughter’s body, and the numerous injuries her child suffered.

“I thought because I was a nurse, I could take this,” she said. “But you don’t get over it when it’s your child.”

Both Wiltshire and his father also took the stand.

David Wiltshire apologized “for what I’ve done” and asked for leniency.

James Wiltshire testified that he has poor health, and has had four kinds of cancer, including two with which he is still coping. He said it would be helpful if his son were at home and could help care for him.

Wiltshire originally faced two charges of murder, but the jury found him guilty of the lesser included offense of manslaughter.

The state presented evidence that Wiltshire, who also sustained serious injuries in the crash, tested positive for THC (marijuana), opiates, and benzodiazapene (used to treat anxiety or seizures).

Wiltshire testified that weather conditions caused his vehicle to hydroplane.

Judge Short sentenced Wiltshire to 20 years for each count of manslaughter, to be served concurrently.

Wiltshire has been in the county jail since his indictment in the case in late 2007.