Jack Barfield IV took the stand Friday at his sentencing hearing, apologizing to the families of the victims injured and killed in a 2005 wreck for which he was found responsible in a trial earlier this month.
"In a matter of seconds, not only did my life change, but the lives of others also," he said. "I want to apologize to everyone…to the families of Ginger and Garrett Reagin, and Mr. (James) Mock."
Barfield also said he hopes his case influences young drivers.
"I just hope all young drivers take heed," he said. "I’m so sorry for the pain I’ve caused everyone."
On Friday, Barfield was sentenced to 10 years in a detention center and 20 years probation for the April 2005 wreck which killed two people and critically injured another.
Superior Court Judge Ronnie Rahn sentenced Barfield to 10 years on each count of homicide by vehicle to be served concurrently, but said he could be released after serving a minimum of 30 months for good behavior. As part of his sentence, Barfield also is required to do at least 200 hours of community service and must speak to area high school students about his case for the next 20 years.
At his March 13 bench trial Barfield was found guilty of two counts of felony homicide by vehicle in the deaths of Ginger Reagin, 35, and her 5-year-old son Garrett. The court also found him guilty of serious injury by vehicle and five misdemeanor counts related to speeding and reckless driving in the April 25, 2005 crash on Highway 280 in Pembroke.
During the sentencing hearing, Stephen Reagin, the father of Garrett and Ginger’s ex-husband, addressed the court and told of his experiences since the death of his son. Reagin was in Iraq when he learned of his son’s death, and said afterwards suffered from depression, alcoholism and thought about suicide.
"My only child has been taken from me," Reagin said reading from a prepared statement. "Now he’s rotting in a box in the ground because of what Jack Barfield did.
"I’ve been told that I’m after nothing but vengeance…and that I can only see the negative. I wish someone could show me the positive."
Reagin, who asked Rahn to sentence Barfield to five years in a detention center where he would serve the whole term plus 10 years of probation, also requested Barfield be sentenced to community service and that he speak to high school students about the dangers of reckless driving.
"I sit here to prevent other parents from losing their children," he said, fighting off tears. "If that saves the life of one child, I will find satisfaction in that."
Roxanne Williams, the sister of Ginger Reagin, testified her sister was her best friend and that it was the strength of her sister she’s used to stay strong since her death nearly two years ago.James Mock, whose vehicle was struck by Barfield’s during the wreck, also testified.
Mock had to have his spleen removed as a result of injuries sustained in the crash.
Several family friends, coaches and mentors testified on behalf of Barfield’s character, including Diane Moore, who has known Barfield since he was a young child and was his guidance counselor when he was in high school.
"He knows he’s made some bad choices," Moore said. "He’s not a person who’s chosen to do any harm to anyone."
Barfield’s father, Jack Barfield III testified, giving his sympathies to the families of Ginger and Garrett Reagin, as well as to the family of Mock.
"I know this is a very late apology, but I want you all to know that we all know Jack made a very terrible mistake that morning," he said. "I know he’s extremely remorseful for what happened. I hope someday you can forgive him."
District Attorney Tom Durden said the hearing was important, but stressed the fact Barfield has already been found guilty of the crimes he was accused of.
"The court found this wasn’t an accident," Durden said. "It was found to be reckless. We can’t change that, and I think we need to go back to what the evidence found in the trial."
Lloyd Murray, Barfield’s attorney, said he wasn’t trying to negate the seriousness of his client’s actions.
"We will ask the court to keep in mind that when you impose the sentence to look at Jack Barfield’s record," Murray said.
After the sentencing, Barfield’s father said he hopes drivers pay attention to what happened in his son’s case.
"I just hope all drivers in our area, young and old, pay attention to what happened and understand how it can affect everyone on the road," he said. "I hope they understand that speed and careless driving can affect not only your life but everyone’s."
Stephen Reagin said the sentence was fair.
"It was not as much as I asked for, but when I asked for that amount (of five years) I didn’t expect he would get that amount," Reagin said. "It’s good that he’s going to have to visit schools while in the detention center."
Reagin said he fells for the Barfield family.
"I don’t think he’s a bad kid," Reagin said. "But that doesn’t preclude him from the responsibilities of his actions."