HEMPHILL, TX (KTRE) - Six months after his trial resulted in a hung jury, a 27-year-old Baytown man pleaded guilty to a negligent homicide charge that resulted from a fatal two-vehicle wreck in late September of 2014 and agreed to sentence of 15 months in a state-jail facility.
Johnnie Deshandrick Sampson will get credit for the time he has already served in jail. He is still being held in the Sabine County Jail.
The two-vehicle wreck occurred on Sept. 30, 2014 when Sampson, who was driving a Chevy pickup at the time, ran a stop sign on State Highway 96 in Jasper County and slammed into the rear end of an 18-wheeler.
Larry Fike, 54, of Caldwell, was ejected from the pickup, and Jasper County Justice of the Peace Brett Holloway pronounced him dead at the scene of the wreck. Sampson was airlifted by helicopter to a Beaumont hospital.
Sampson's trial ended in a hung jury on March 1.
During his closing arguments at the trial Sabine County District Attorney Kevin Dutton told the jury that the state presented plenty of evidence to suggest that Sampson was behind the wheel during the time of the crash.
Dutton said that case boils down to who was driving and through witness testimony, there was plenty of evidence that leaves no room for questions or doubt. Dutton said it was not possible for Fike to be ejected from the driver's side of the truck.
Julie Conn, Sampson's defense attorney, argued that even through witness testimony, there were conflicting answers from at least two of the witnesses when they said that Sampson may have been in the backseat or in the middle part of the truck.
She argued that there wasn't enough evidence to suggest that Sampson was driving at the time of the crash, and the state had not presented enough proof. Conn also said the state hadn't disproved the testimonies that Sampson was in the backseat.