EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSCHIC-COLBERT SENTENCED
from Eyewitness News Online
Man Guilty In Child's Highway Death Could Spend 30 Years In Prison
Reported by: Leslie Rubin
Web Producer: Leslie Rubin
Reported: Aug. 15, 2012 3:40 PM EDT
Updated: Aug. 15, 2012 11:13 PM EDT
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
The man responsible for the death of a young boy learns his fate in Kanawha County Circuit Court.
In March 2012, Jahlil Clements, 11, was hit and killed by a car after running to get help for his mother, Lynitrah Woodson.
Ethan Chic-Colbert, 22, was beating Woodson on the side of I-77.
On Wednesday, Judge Duke Bloom sentenced Colbert to 6-30 years behind bars.
Colbert questioned the judge after that sentence was handed down, concerned about how long he'll stay in prison, but Jahlil's family had little sympathy for him, as they gave tearful statements to a packed courtroom.
"I won't see him graduate from high school, go off to college, fall in love. Nothing. I won't ever be able to say, 'Jahlil, tell those girls stop callin,' or enjoy vacations," said Woodson before Colbert's sentencing. "Watch him teach his brother how to ride a bike, skate, play basketball. All the things that he knew and enjoyed doing. All of that was taken from me that night because of the choices made by Ethan Chic-Colbert," she cried.
"I'm sorry Ja. You're probably looking down and you're probably mad at me," said Colbert. He also spoke to the court about his love for Jahlil.
"Obviously Jahlil's family doesn't accept it and neither do we," said Kanawha County assistant prosecutor Tera Salango.
Colbert stands by his claim that he's not the cause of Clements' death, even saying his lawyers told him during the trial to not say he's sorry.
"It wasn't my fault, sir, that Jahlil Clements died," he told Judge Bloom.
Bloom also questioned why he violated a domestic violence protective order by calling Woodson from jail. Several emotionally charged jailhouse calls between the two were played during the hearing.
"There's nothing I can do Lynitrah, I'm sorry," said Colbert in the phone call. "No!" she screamed. "You don't think I loved Jahlil? I loved Jahlil with all my heart," he said. "No you don't! You don't ******* love Jahlil," screamed Woodson in the call.
Family members said after the hearing that they're still upset a kidnapping charge was dropped against Colbert during the trial, ending prosecutor's hope for a felony murder conviction which could have yielded a life sentence.
Judge Bloom sentenced Colbert to the maximum allowed under law. He'll serve 3-15 years for child neglect resulting in death, and three 1-5 year sentences for child neglect resulting in risk of serious bodily injury. He'll get time served for the domestic battery conviction. Colbert will also be on 25 years supervised release once he's out of prison.
It was a reality that quickly set in for the 22-year-old, who immediately started calculating how much time he was going to spend behind bars.
"So how old would I be when I get out?" he asked the judge.
"He's actually saying something the prosecuting attorney about how old will I be when I get out? My baby, his years are done," said Clements' grandmother, Treva Woodson.
"He has taken away his own son's brother his role model and companion. There isn't a day that goes by that little Ethan don't ask me where his bubby at? Where is bubby? I want to go home. Ja Ja wants me. I have to explain to him that his bubby is in heaven to a 2-year-old," cried Woodson, referring to her and Colberts' son, Ethan Jr.
There was also testimony about Colbert's gang involvement. That information will likely be taken into consideration when he is up for parole.
The man charged with child neglect that left an 11-year-old boy dead along Interstate 77 last spring could spend up to 30 years in prison under a sentence handed down Wednesday in Kanawha Circuit Court.
Ethan Chic-Colbert was sentenced by Kanawha Circuit Judge Duke Bloom to six to 30 years with 25 years of supervised probation.
Last month, Chic-Colbert was found guilty on charges of child neglect resulting in the death of 11-year-old Jahlil Clements. The boy died along I-77 back in March after being hit by a car. He was trying to flag down help for his mother, who prosecutors say had been dragged onto the interstate and was being beaten by Chic-Colbert. Jahlil Clements’ little brother and two young friends also were inside the car.
Chic-Colbert is the father of the youngest son of Jahlil Clements’ mother.
Ethan Chic-Colbert Found Guilty Of Child Neglect Resulting In Death Of Jahlil Clements
Reported: Jul. 9, 2012 9:36 PM
Updated: Jul. 11, 2012 9:28 AM
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
Ethan Chic-Colbert has been found guilty on charges of child neglect resulting in the death of 11-year-old Jahlil Clements. He was also found guilty on three other charges of child neglect creating the risk of injury for the other children in the car the night Clements died. In addition, Chic-Colbert was found guilty of domestic battery for beating Jahlil's mom.
Jahlil died along I-77 in March after being hit by a car. He was trying to flag down help for his mother, who prosecutors say was being beaten and who had been dragged into the interstate by Chic-Colbert, the father of her youngest son. Jahlil's little brother and two young friends were also in the car.
When the trial started, Chic-Colbert was facing felony murder and kidnapping charges but Judge Duke Bloom ruled today that the prosecution didn't meet the burden of proof under the kidnapping statute, so that charge was dropped. Without the kidnapping charge, Chic-Colbert couldn't be charged with felony murder because that is defined as murder during the commission of a felony.
Jurors deliberated for a little more than an hour before finding Colbert guilty of the other charges. He faces up to 31 years in prison.
New developments in the Kanawha County murder and kidnapping trial of Ethan Chic-Colbert.
The judge threw out the kidnapping charge against Chic-Colbert, citing not enough evidence. In turn, Chic-Colbert can not be convicted of felony murder.
The trial is continuing for the child neglect, and domestic battery charges.
Chic-Colbert is accused of beating his girlfriend, Lynitrah Woodson, while their car was stopped on the interstate last March.
Woodson's 11-year-old son, Jahlil Clements, was hit by a car and died when he ran out into the road trying to flag down someone to help.
Chic-Colbert will be the defense's only witness. He took the stand around 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday.
He still faces 31 years in prison, if convicted of the other charges.
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