"There's a price to pay for taking someone's life like that," family reacts to sentencing

The mother of Garrett Sands says she is glad to see some prison time for the person who pleaded guilty to her son's deadly shooting.

Posted: Apr. 27, 2019 8:28 AM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) -- Emotions filled the Vigo County Courthouse late Friday afternoon as a judge handed down a sentence in the 2018 shooting death of 17-year-old Garrett Sands.

His mother and stepfather say more than a year of hearings in the case ended with some justice. “I was hoping for some sort of prison time for severity of this crime. That was probably my best moment in court,” said Jayna Sullivan, Garrett’s mother.

A judge ordered Derickson to four years in prison, in addition to six years of probation. He told the court it gave him no pleasure to give this sentence. Derickson changed his plea for reckless homicide to guilty last month.

In court, Four people gave victim impact statements in the four hour long hearing. Nathan Derickson’s mother spoke, in addition to three members of Sands’ family.

The prosecution also walked through some of the evidence in the case. They pointed to what they say was Derickson’s reckless history of drug and alcohol issues.

Derickson also took the stand and apologized. Sullivan responded to that moment after the hearing, "I did expect an apology from him before now. I wouldn't have cared if that came in the form of a letter from an attorney, just something, something before now," she said.

The case stems back to the March, 2018 shooting of Garrett Sands. Police said Derickson shot Sands while at a house party that involved drugs and alcohol.

"You have to be accountable, I mean, this was a situation where nothing good was going to come of it,” said Terry Modesitt, Vigo County Prosecutor. "It was one of those cases that weighs heavy on your heart. It wears on you, as far as -- you feel their pain."

Sullivan says she will continue honor her son’s life through the Garrett Sands Kindness project. “"I know a lot of people say things like, well maybe you can move on, maybe you can move forward, and there is none of that when it comes to a death like this."

Derickson has the option of appealing this sentence.

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