Standing in court in an orange jumpsuit, a pile of tears
Jacob garlitt, who had a paper towel on the table in front of him, said he wanted to explain what happened on the day of January, and he got drunk and crashed the car into the icy Delaware River and ran away, leave his "soul mate" in the car and drown.
At a sentencing hearing at Burlington County High Court on Thursday, he spoke for 10 minutes, describes how his late girlfriend, 23-year-old Stephanie White, has made him strive to be a better one and he can't believe that alcohol affects his judgment so much that when White is trapped inside, he fled the sinking car.
"If I were sober, I would die there with her"year-old said.
"I will hold her, we will die together, but she will be safe, she will be safe, she will not die in fear," he said, wiping tears.
"That's why I was killed. . .
She died in fear.
I will be fine if I can die there, I will be fine.
Instead, garlitte climbed up the river wall and told the onlookers to "help my girlfriend" and then ran away on a river line train until it was K--by the police-9.
Four hours later, when his blood alcohol content was tested, it was still more than double the legal cap.
Judge Terrence Cook has sentenced garlitt in Burlington City to 15 years in prison.
Garrettpleaded pleaded guilty for the first time in July.
Vehicle killing and second degree
The extent of leaving the scene of the fatal accident.
The long sentencing hearing was very notable not only for garlitte's speech, but also for the sympathy that White's family showed when speaking to the judge.
They described White's immeasurable loss and knew she would never get married or married, but also said they didn't hate garlitte.
White's mom, Ina White, and uncle Terrence White, they said they were less concerned about the sentence and more about his counselling and rehabilitation so that he could accept what he had done, live a better life.
"My only wish for Jacob is not so much time, but to help, guide, understand," said Ina White, speaking to the judge on Thursday, who bowed his head.
"He felt what I was going through. He knows me.
Stephanie White, nicknamed "Birdy" by her family, grew up in Freehold, graduated from Freehold Borough High School and works at the FedEx shipping center in Hamilton.
Her family said she was smart and gentle.
A "good girl" who has no party or is in trouble ".
She helps her mother raise her foster children and helps any family member or friend in need.
Garlitte admitted that he made the wrong decision and had a criminal record when they met, but White forced him to cheer up and find a better job.
"She changed my life and she showed me that I can do better," he said . ".
They are going to get married, he said.
He said he began drinking the night before the accident and felt "out of control ".
"On Sunday morning she texted him that she wanted to make dinner for him and they got together and he started drinking.
"I don't know what exactly made me drink that day.
"What makes me want to drink," he said . "
That afternoon, when garlitte decided to pass through a car on the right, through the empty parking space, they were flying back from the store.
He said he didn't even remember after a while he crashed into a parked car, but his car flew over the river wall and he was knocked unconscious.
"When I woke up, the water had risen here," he said, motioning to the center of the chest.
Garlitte said he was trying to pull white out, but he didn't realize that she was still tied to her seat belt and the water was getting higher and higher.
He knows she can't swim.
"The next thing I know is dark," he said, as the car sank into the water.
"I won't lie.
I jumped out of the car.
Speaking to the judge, White's mother said the last question she had left was why garlitte chose to run away at that moment.
In his answer, he recalled the moment he boarded the wall of the river and his last hope ---
The white guy came out of the car somehow. -slipped away.
"I'm just scared.
"I knew I couldn't jump back and I wouldn't be standing there to face the problem at the time," he said . ".
"I did not leave because I was afraid of the consequences.
I left because I couldn't accept it.
Garlitte once said that he wanted White's mother to forgive him, but he knew that his "sorry" was not enough.
"I'm sorry it's not the meaning of the word," he said . ".
"But I wish I could die with her.
Earlier, Ina White told Judge cook that her daughter was also her best friend.
Garlitte cried and said that his "stupid" decision made her life empty and would never disappear.
"Although I want my daughter here, physically speaking, I know she's fine," said Ina White . ".
The only way she can overcome her loss, she says, is through her faith.
"Although she left, she was not taken away by me," said Ina White . " There was a smile on her face.
She patted her chest and her heart. "She's here. . . .
She will be here all the time.
White's aunt, Russell White, recalls that her niece is a woman who respects others and is full of love, and she never worries about this woman.
"The day I lost my niece, I lost my ability to be happy forever.
"My heart didn't hurt one day," she said excitedly.
"She still has so many lives to live.
"She will never have a chance to be the woman I know she will be," Roselle White said . ".
"Her laughter and her words are gone forever and nothing can change that.
Two friends of garlitte told the judge that they were happy that he was responsible for what he had done and that they knew that he was a person who was ready to help his friends at any time.
Laquin Carter said that garlitte stood up for him when he was harassed because of homosexuality and may have saved his life.
Cardaja Randolph says garlitte is like her father, helping her take care of her family.
Judge Cook said he believed garlitte was regretful and admitted that White's family had shown him "Amazing grace and compassion" in court ".
"I don't know Stephanie, but if you are her shadow, then I know she is an amazing young lady and you mourn her death, Cook told the family.
"My words today will not reflect the value of her life for you.
"Rebecca reverett @ njadvancemedia is likely to be reached. com.
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