In spite of pleas for probation, a jury sentenced Gregory Mitchell, 34, to 15 years in prison after finding him guilty of intoxication manslaughter

“Give him a chance to continue to try to redeem himself,” Defense Attorney Cornelius Cox asked the jury during closing arguments.

He referred to the death of Ryan Bettcher, 29, as a tragic accident.

Bettcher died after Mitchell’s car veered from the roadway as he drove along the 400 block of Aviation Boulevard on the night of May 7, 2011.

His blood alcohol level that night was 1.5 times the legal limit, according to prosecutors.

Assistant District Attorney Clayton Haden, countering Cox’s closing argument, said, “It was not an accident.”

Haden said, It was a crime -- a felony crime -- that resulted in the death of a person.”

Mitchell will have to serve half of the 15-year sentence before he is eligible for parole.

For a list of recent stories Paul Venema has done, click here.