A Floyd County woman who killed a woman during a DUI-related crash was sentenced in Floyd Circuit Court last week.
Circuit Judge Johnny Ray Harris accepted the recommendation of Commonwealth’s Attorney Brent Turner when he sentenced Kimberly Akers, 46, of Grethel, to serve 10 years for manslaughter and two years for assault, for a total of 12 years. That sentence, per the plea agreement negotiated by Turner, will be suspended after Akers serves six years and, after she is released, she will be placed on probation for five years.
Akers was indicted in 2018 on charges of murder and assault for a Dec. 14, 2017, crash that killed Heidi Hamilton, 38, of Craynor, and injured her finance Chris Hamilton, 38. Akers was driving under the influence of drugs when the crash occurred.
She was released from custody after her indictment was issued, but her bond was revoked after she failed drug tests.
Akers pleaded guilty to amended charges in November, after reaching an agreement with Turner’s office and Heidi Hamilton’s family. At that hearing, Harris granted the family’s request to require Akers to complete substance abuse treatment prior to her sentencing.
“She did go to Karen’s Place and, as I understand, completed, 60 or 80 days. She finished the first phase of whatever treatment they offer there, and, according to the people over there, she had done really well,” Turner said. “So well, in fact, that they had asked about maybe keeping her a little longer, but the judge did not want to do that and we frankly did not want to do that either because, the plea agreement called for a short stint in rehab and then she had to go report to prison. We didn’t want it to turn into a situation where she was staying there for months and months and months and avoiding the prison time that she agreed to.”
Turner said his office is happy with sentence.
“I think everybody on our side, as far as the victim’s family, were happy with it,” Turner said. “Of course, you could always ask for more time. Potentially, she could have got more time, and if she would have gone to trial, she could have gotten less time. There’s really no way of knowing. But overall, we were satisfied with it and I think the family was just happy to have some resolution of the case. Since they agreed to the plea, they also know that she can’t really appeal that or do anything that would cause it to drag out, or worry about it being set back and that kind of thing.”
Turner explained that, with good behavior, Akers could be given an opportunity for parole before she finishes the six-year sentence.
“It’s a six-year sentence, subject to the, of course, the parole calculations and all of that in Frankfort. So if she does what she’s supposed to do, she’ll come up for parole much sooner than that, or at least have an opportunity,” Turner said. “It doesn’t mean that she’ll get parole, but she’ll have a chance to get parole.”
He said after her release, Akers will be placed on supervised probation for five years.
“She’ll have the remaining six years of her sentence over her head for five additional years when she finally gets released. And that’ll be supervised probation with drug testing and everything else that goes along with it,” Turner said. “So that was a part of it that was beneficial, and I think the victim’s family was happy with it, too. They know she’s going to get some treatment time, and then once she’s released, we’ve still got control over her for another five years after that to try to make sure she does what she’s supposed to do and if she doesn’t she’ll go back and serve the rest of the time.”
Heidi Hamilton left behind her son Dalton, who graduated high school after her death, her sister Heather Tackett, parents Harold Newsome of Ohio and Susan Gillespie Newsome of North Carolina and other family members and friends.
Her sister described her as “amazing.”
“She’s a very special person. Loving and giving. Fun, witty. She was quite the crackerjack,” Tackett said. “But she’s missed, all the time.”
She was buried in the family cemetery at Craynor on Dec. 18, 2017.