Dale County man sentenced to 15 years

Published 3:31 pm Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A Dale County man has been sentenced to 35 years in prison on his conviction for reckless murder in the death of a 15-year-old girl killed when his pickup truck wrecked as he tried to elude a deputy.

Robert Willis, 40, of Newton expressed remorse over the death of Whitney Leigh Lake, who was ejected when the truck crashed Jan. 26.

Circuit Judge Ed Jackson imposed the sentence Tuesday after the defense sought leniency and prosecutors urged a stiffer sentence.

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District Attorney Doug Valeska said a deputy caught Willis having sex or attempting to do so with the teen on the side of a dead end road. He said Willis was ordered to stop but sped away, hitting 100 mph before the wreck.

The defense said the deputy’s siren was not on at the start of the pursuit.