A prosecutor said Thursday that the nine-year, eight-month prison term facing the man who killed two people while driving high on nitrous oxide in Folsom earlier this year is probably what he would have received had he been convicted at trial.
"He actually pled to every charge," Deputy District Attorney Caroline Park said after Michael Dean Sharp admitted to two counts of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and to a third charge of felony drunk driving causing great bodily injury.
"Nothing was dismissed," Park said.
Sharp, 22, entered his no contest pleas to the Jan. 7 collision on Folsom Boulevard that killed Christopher Stephen Ohlander Martell, 37, and his brother Robert Todd Ohlander, 32.
Sharp has no prior criminal history, his lawyer said, and nothing shows up under his name in Sacramento Superior Court online records.
The crash took place minutes after Sharp legally had purchased 50 Whip-It nitrous oxide canisters at a smoke shop in Folsom. Authorities said he cracked one of the canisters, funneled the gas into a balloon and inhaled, igniting a euphoric rush but rendering him unable to handle his Ford Explorer.
Park said in Sacramento Superior Court on Thursday that Sharp sped up to 60 mph, crossed the double-yellow line on southbound Folsom Boulevard and narrowly missed two cars before he crashed into the Saturn that carried the victims.
The Citrus Heights brothers were dead at the scene. A friend in the back seat, Bronson Chapman, was seriously injured. The brothers were giving Chapman a ride home to Folsom when Sharp crashed into them.
Besides the nitrous oxide the so-called laughing gas administered as a painkiller and anesthetic in dentists' offices Sharp also had some THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, in his system, according to prosecutors.
Judge Geoffrey A. Goodman told Sharp the pleas he entered Thursday are conditional and that he is not bound to follow the proposed nine-year, eight-month agreement, pending his review of a pre-sentencing probation report.
Goodman scheduled Sharp's sentencing for Aug. 31.
Sentencing on the two vehicular manslaughter counts carries a range from a low term of four years, to a middle term of six and to a high term of 10. Goodman said the plea calls for Sharp to be sentenced to the middle term on count one and one-third of the middle term on the second count, to be served consecutively.
Goodman said the proposal calls for Sharp to be sentenced to half the 16-month low term on the third count of felony driving under the influence causing injury. The sentencing range on the DUI offense goes up to two years for the middle term and three years on the high end.
The judge told Sharp the sentencing agreement also calls for him to receive a one-year enhancement for causing great bodily injury on Chapman. The convictions all will be lodged as "strikes" on Sharp's record, the judge said, meaning the defendant faces a possible sentence of 25-to-life if he's convicted on any felony in the future.
None of the victims' relatives who were in court Thursday agreed to be interviewed about the sentence.
Defense attorney Michael DeWeese said he had discussions with the District Attorney's Office earlier about settling the case. He said the evidence against Sharp "was somewhat compelling."
"When two people die and he's responsible, there has to be a price," DeWeese said.
At the time of his death, Christopher Ohlander Martell had been taking flying lessons and was about to take a test to become a commercial small-plane pilot. His brother Robert Todd Ohlander was in his last semester at Sierra College. He planned to transfer to Sacramento State.
The two brothers shared a variety of interests working out, hunting, mountain bike riding and dancing, among them. According to a statement released by their family, the two even took up ballet because they found it to be "a good place to meet women."
DeWeese said Sharp's mother died of cancer when he was 14. The defense attorney said his client had never been in trouble but that he had begun experimenting with drugs when he was 17 or 18.
"From the beginning, when he talked to the police officers in this case, he told them everything that happened 'This is what I did, and I feel bad about it,' " DeWeese said.