Man Sentenced In Death Of One U of I Student
Updated: Sunday, July 20 2014, 04:09 AM CDT
Jarry Lewis, a Craft family friend said"he's sick, he's raising his Grand-daughter you know what I'm saying,..he's worked all his life, he's raising his granddaughter trying to do the best he can. He's never been in jail, incarcerated for nothing and you gone give him four years for an accident when he had a medical condition."
Family and friends outraged after a judge gives Willie Craft a 3 1/2 year sentence in the death of 20-year-old Mimi Liu.
On October 9th 2013, Liu and another woman were walking along Lincoln Avenue when then 58-year-old Willie Craft jumped the curb in his pickup truck. Liu later died.
State's Attorney Julia Rietz shared this statement following the sentencing "the entire situation is a tragedy, caused by Mr. Kraft's mismanagement of his diabetes".
Wednesday in court, Liu's father read a five minute statement. It included " we're unable to sleep well. We frequently wake up at night asking why...." "He should be punished to the full extent of the law, no less".
(Pictures of Craft from The News Gazette) The defense argued for probation, citing Craft's failing health.
Claudia Lennhoff, of Champaign County Healthcare Consumers says "so the hope was because this was an accident brought on by a medical condition by someone who managed his diabetes regularly and had regular care for it and had all the medications that he needed and so on that he would be given probation".
As the sentencing came down, Willie Kraft Junior yelled several obscenities, saying it was an accident.He was later sentenced to 6 months in prison for direct criminal contempt.
"That was his son. He just lost it because he's taking his father away", says Lewis.
Deputy Sheriff's also arrested another member of the Craft family in the hallway. Charges are pending.
Prior to the judge's ruling, Craft addressed the court saying "I'm so sorry to the family for what happened. I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry. I just wanna be able to continue raising my granddaughter".
Judge Richard Klaus then said the defendant made a choice to drive in a deplorable medical state.