Woman gets maximum in DUI death|[07/25/08]

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 25, 2008

A Vicksburg woman who pleaded guilty to driving drunk and killing an 81-year-old man will serve 20 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections after receiving the maximum sentence Thursday.

Brandy Wallace, 26, tearfully apologized to the family of John E. Parrette and stood quietly as Parrette’s daughters asked the court for justice for their father. She then was sentenced by Warren County Circuit Judge Isadore Patrick.

Wallace had just enough time to turn and look at her family, who did not say anything during or after the sentencing, before she was led away.

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“It’s not going to bring Daddy back,” said Parrette’s daughter Rachel Gray of Jackson.

“It’s not,” added Gray’s sister, Rebecca Brasfield of Vicksburg, “but it has renewed my faith in the justice system.”

Parrette was a widower and, in addition to his two daughters, had three grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

Wallace pleaded guilty July 11 to aggravated DUI in the Nov. 5 death of Parrette, who was hit while he was checking his mail in front of his home on Roseland Drive.

Investigators said Wallace was northbound on Roseland at an unknown speed when her Toyota Tacoma left the street and struck the homeowner. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

“At the time she was driving with a suspended license with a previous DUI, so I think that is what tipped the scales,” said Assistant District Attorney Dewey Arthur. “The first DUI is one thing; people make mistakes. But when you end up killing someone after you’ve already gotten yourself in trouble, the court realizes it has an obligation to protect its citizens.

Wallace’s plea was open, meaning the DA’s office made no agreement or recommendation for her sentence, though her attorney asked for leniency.

Her total sentence was 25 years, but Patrick suspended five, telling her she would be on supervised probation during that time.

Wallace’s sentencing was on the same day that Tim Pee, also accused of aggravated DUI, was expected to enter a plea. That case was postponed. Pee was indicted in August 2007 after the GMC Yukon he was driving flipped on Confederate Avenue near Wisconsin Avenue on May 20, killing Christopher Rawlings, 27, 810 Queen St.

Christopher Rawlings was the second son of Willette Rawlings in two years to die in a wreck in Vicksburg. Corey Rawlings died along Interstate 20 in January 2005. His stepsister, Almeda Rawlings, also died in a wreck that same year.