CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A man convicted of causing the death of an 11-year-old boy on Interstate 77 last year must spend up to 30 years in jail, the state Supreme Court affirmed Monday.
Ethan Chic-Colbert, 23, was convicted in July 2012 of domestic battery, child neglect resulting in death and three counts of gross child neglect after getting into a fight with his girlfriend on Interstate 77 in March 2012.
Jahlil Clements, 11, was killed when he ran out into traffic to try to keep Chic-Colbert from hitting his mother, Lynitrah Woodson.
Chic-Colbert was originally indicted on charges of murder and kidnapping, but was tried on the lesser charges. Kanawha Circuit Judge Duke Bloom sentenced Chic-Colbert to six to 30 years in prison.
Chic-Colbert's appeal said Bloom and prosecutors erred when sentencing him. The Supreme Court, however, found his arguments had no merit.
In his appeal, Chic-Colbert's attorney argued that language in the circuit court documents charged Chic-Colbert with child neglect resulting in injury, but that his client was convicted of child neglect resulting in death. Hill said Chic-Colbert should have been sentenced under the more lenient penalties of the lesser charge.
"Under the facts of this case, it would have been nonsensical for the State to charge the petitioner with child neglect causing bodily injury when his victim, in fact, died," the high court's opinion states.