PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – Jurors recommended a woman found guilty on all eight charges against her in a fatal crash be sentenced to at least 38 years behind bars.
Takiara Lewis-White, 21, killed two girls when she crashed an SUV while fleeing a state trooper on I-264 in Portsmouth last September.
Lewis-White and her baby boy survived the crash, but eight-year-old Destiny Wilson and five-year-old Shawnta Wilson died at the scene. Lewis-White and her family were friends with their mother.
Wednesday, a jury found Lewis-White guilty of six felonies, including murder, child neglect and abuse and two traffic misdemeanors.
Portsmouth’s assistant public defender Edwin Wu asked for the minimum sentence of 16 years.
“There’s nothing we can do to bring back Shawnta and Destiny. We’d be piling on to the tragedy,” Wu said to the jury. “I’m begging you for mercy for Takiara Lewis-White.”
Prosecutors did not request a specific sentence, but the law allows for Lewis-White to get more than 115 years in prison.
“You should show her some mercy, but tempered by what she did,” said prosecutor Marie Walls. “Those children, all three of them, looked up to her and trusted her.”
Jurors recommended she be sentenced to 12 months for reckless driving, two years each for the three neglect charges, two years for eluding police and 15 years for both murder charges. The jury also says Lewis-White should pay $31,500 in fines.
The girls’ mother, Teyeka Wilson, testified that Lewis-White never apologized to her after the crash or in the year leading up to the trial. She told 10 On Your Side that she wishes jurors had recommended a longer sentence.
“But… what time is going to be enough for me?” she said.
Lewis-White’s mother testified that she apologized on her daughter’s behalf to the Wilson family through the media.
In court, Lewis-White’s attorney called the defendant to the stand to testify, encouraging her to use her words.
She sat with her head hanging, not facing the jury or the girls’ mother, and had to repeat her statement because she spoke too quietly the first time.
“I apologize to Mrs. Wilson and her family for what happened on September 7,” Lewis-White said, and then returned to her seat.
Wilson called the apology a “front” for the jurors.
“Be mindful who you trust with your children, who you let around your kids and get your kids,” Wilson told 10 On Your Side. “Love them, pay attention to them… because, when that’s gone, that’s it. You’re just here… It will always be with me.”