Maggie and Chris were special people who affected everyone they met, a wonderful couple looking forward to their futures, the judge told the solemn gallery of spectators Thursday in Sacramento Superior Court.
The sentence Judge Richard Sueyoshi was about to impose on the man who killed them, he told their families, would be “small compared to your loss.”
Brandon Ray Fernandez was sentenced Thursday to five years and two months in state prison on vehicular manslaughter and drug charges Thursday in the deaths of Marguerite Stahl, 25, and Christopher Kimble, 27, in a violent collision about 3 a.m. Sept. 26 on Madison Avenue.
Fernandez was under the influence of alcohol and marijuana, authorities said. He was driving the wrong way on westbound Madison when his car slammed into Kimble’s motorcycle near Lincoln Oaks Drive, killing the couple instantly.
Emotions were raw in the gallery filled with family and friends of Kimble, Stahl and Fernandez. The victims’ mothers and Stahl’s sister addressed the judge.
“My sister was killed by a drunk driver driving the wrong way down Madison Avenue,” Stahl’s sister Larissa Pitts, said. “The words stick in my throat.”
Fernandez faced the judge’s bench from his cell, eyes closed as grieving family members spoke.
“There are three mothers who will bear this sorrow, not just two,” Belinda Renfro, Kimble’s mother, reading from a letter, told Sueyoshi. “Nothing can fix this. I can’t find forgiveness in my heart to move on. Memories are the only things I have left in my pain.”
Mary Schooley said driving each day by the scene of the wreck that claimed her daughter was nearly too much to bear, but she held hope for her daughter’s final thoughts.
“My hope is that her last thoughts were the joy of being on the back of a motorcycle with her boyfriend, the man she loved.”