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Smith Co. Sheriff deputy's son sentenced to 10 years in prison

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Jared Stinecipher. (Source: Smith County Jail) Jared Stinecipher. (Source: Smith County Jail)

Smith County 7th District Court Judge Kerry Russell sentenced Jared Stinecipher to 10 years in prison.

Jared Stinecipher, 26, pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of a Dec. 17, 2011, crash that killed a Tyler man, and was indicted for criminal negligent homicide and failure to stop and render aid.

Police say Stinecipher, a Smith County Sheriff's Deputy's son, left his truck and ran into the woods as first responders rushed Arthur Murphy, 50, to a hospital where he later died.

In court on Tuesday, a witness to the crash, as well as a first responder, DPS trooper and family members of the victim and defendant took the stand.

Richmond Crumpton told the court he was home working in his yard the afternoon of the wreck. He said he saw Stinecipher get out of his car after the crash, look in the victim's car and take off.

Mark Lollar, a paramedic at ETMC, responded to the crash. He told the court when he arrived at the intersection of FM 2767 and FM 757, he saw one vehicle upside down. Lollar said the vehicle's roof and the driver's side door was crushed in. Lollar said he was unable to get to the victim until he was cut out of the vehicle. Lollar said the victim, Murphy, was in very bad shape. "I didn't believe he had a chance," Lollar said.

DPS Trooper Chris Baker investigated the crash. He told the court he contacted the Smith County Sheriff's Office to help with the manhunt because Stinecipher had fled on foot. Baker testified that troopers found a marijuana pipe and another pipe with a white powdery substance in the truck Stinecipher was driving.

"When I backed away from the entire scene, you could see the skid marks. A major T-bone crash is what it boiled down to," Baker said.

The State showed the court numerous pictures from the wrecked vehicles on the scene. Baker said he had Murphy's blood tested and the results showed Murphy did not had drugs or alcohol in his system at the time of the crash.

Authorities did not locate Stinecipher until his father later turned him in to the Smith County Jail. Stinecipher already had warrants out for his arrest.

On the stand, Murphy's half-brother, Mr. Ford, told the court about his best memories of Murphy. Mr. Ford said Murphy was a truck driver and loved his job. Mr. Ford said Murphy always took care of their mother and made sure to visit her regularly so she did not get lonely. Mr. Ford told the court he never imagined his little brother would die before him. He said Murphy was the last living member of his immediate family and now he feels truly alone for the first time in his life.

Marsha Washington, Murphy's cousin, told the court Murphy's death has been devastating. He described him as a very dependable and helpful person. "He was just a great person," she said.

Stinecipher's mother took the stand last. She said Stinecipher plans to be a productive citizen when he is released from prison. She said she still talks to him multiple times a week on the phone. Stinecipher's mother began to cry when she told the court about how hard it was for her husband to turn their son in to the jail.

In closing arguments, The State said they believed Stinecipher was under the influence of drugs or alcohol during the wreck, but because he fled the scene, they were unable to get a blood sample from him. The State said Murphy was a productive, loved citizen who did well to others. The State said Stinecipher was on felony probation at the time of the crash.

"The worst part about this case is that he looked inside that vehicle, knew what he had done and took off," said The State.

The State and Murphy's family asked for the maximum sentence.

The defense said the crash was an accident and Stinecipher is now facing the punishment for what he did.

"Mr. Stinecipher, it appears to me God has something in store for you because you could be as dead as the man you killed; you've had wake up call after wake up call after wake up call," said Judge Russell.

Judge Russell went over Stinecipher's drug arrest history and how he owes more than $5,000 in child support to a woman he has never married.  "I share this with you because you'll be getting out at some point. You'll have a life to live. Mr. Murphy will not. You took his life," said Judge Russell.

"You have a good bit of people in this courtroom here supporting you. They still haven't given up on you despite all the reasons you've given them to," Judge Russell said. He told Stinecipher a lot of people who stand before him don't have people here that still care about them.

The victim, 50-year-old Arthur Dwayne Murphy's, brother and cousin were present in the courtroom for the sentencing. They chose not to make a victim impact statement.

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