Last year, on June 20th, in Charleston, South Carolina, Keith Joshua Jackson, a recent high school graduate, was driving with two of his school friends. He got into a major car accident injuring himself, a passenger, Greg Jones and killing William Shuman. All were only 19 years old at the time. Jackson’s blood-alcohol level was .186%—a percentage far greater than the legal limit.
Recently, Judge James Stucky, sentenced Keith Joshua Jackson to a year in regional jail. Jackson, who pleaded guilty back in February to one count of “driving under the influence causing death,” said at the time, “…although I do not remember driving, in talking with my attorney I found out I was the driver. We hit a bank and flipped, and my friend Willy Shuman was killed and my friend Greg Jones was hurt, but he made it out.”
“Willy wanted to make a difference in the world,” said William Shuman’s father, James. “He was positive, upbeat and had a zest for life.” Some members of the Shuman family feel Jackson has yet to assume full responsibility for the fatal crash based upon his February testimony.
As well, the Shuman family called attention to Jackson’s Facebook pictures which showed him at various parties drinking alcohol, not long after the crash. “Fourteen days after my unrecognizable son was dead on top of him, he was out partying,” William’s mother said. “He had no respect for the life he took and the family he had shattered. He continued to live his life as if nothing had happened.”
Assistant Prosecutor Don Morris presented evidence to support Jackson’s violations of the terms of his bond—obey the law and at all costs, avoid underage drinking. Morris suggested Jackson be handed the maximum jail sentence. “I wish it had been me,” Jackson said. “Willy was a friend of mine, and I didn’t mean for this to happen. Willy is gone, and there’s nothing I can do to bring him back.”
Judge Stucky, in a position to sentence Jackson to 90 days to one year, to be served in jail or on home confinement, chose the maximum jail term. Jackson will begin serving his sentence at South Central Regional Jail, in South Carolina.