(This story was first published in the March 21, 2013 edition of the Vermont Standard.)
By Eric Francis
WHITE RIVER JUNCTION – A 24-year-old Reading man who’d been facing up to 60 years in prison for what prosecutors described as a series of heroin-fueled burglaries, outbursts and incidents that raged for months was given a 2-to-10 year sentence last week following an emotional statement from one of his victims.
Ryan Buckley sat stoically and listened as Kasey Quimby, 17, recounted the injuries she sustained as the passenger in a car crash that took place at 1:30 a.m. in Weathersfield in May 2012 after Buckley, under the influence of cocaine, drove the pair into a telephone pole bringing electrical wires down onto the vehicle, and then ran off, through the neighborhood as police and search dogs chased him through the woods for hours until he was captured.
Calling in to the courtroom on a speakerphone, the teen began by describing her leg injuries from the crash. “I have two compound fractures, one of them is still broken, and a metal rod with four screws that goes from my knee down to my (broken) ankle,” Quimby said.
“I had severely bruised ribs and a severe concussion leaving me (only able) to remember bits and pieces of that night but now, as I go on, I’m starting to remember more and more of what happened,” Quimby said, continuing, “I get nightmares from it. I see his face all the time. It never goes away.”
“It’s just hard to remember, to think back to that moment where it ruined my life,” she said. “I can’t run, I can’t jog, I can’t jump. I can no longer do sports and it made it so that I had to drop out of high school because it was just too long of a recovery process.”
“I’m no longer able to do the things I was counting on doing the rest of my life,” Quimby said, concluding, “I’d just like to see justice for what he did to me. I don’t see how he could be like that and just leave me to die.”
Buckley had accumulated a total of four felony and 23 misdemeanor charges before he came into the courtroom in January and stunned both his public defender and prosecutors by defiantly turning down a “global resolution” plea deal and seemingly putting himself on track for a jail sentence that could have stretched into his retirement years.
A much more contrite Buckley was on display last Wednesday when he apologized publicly to Quimby and his family for his “destructive behavior” and thanked Judge Robert Gerety, his new defense attorney, Mark Furlan, and Windsor County Deputy State’s Attorney Rhonda Sheffield for “sorting all this out.”
Sheffield told the court that sitting in jail for months had already allowed Buckley to detoxify from drugs and the sentence both sides had agreed to, “allows him to enter that window in his 30s by the time all his supervision is completed with the hope that he will have grown up by then.”
Judge Gerety replied from the bench that because Buckley’s case, “involves the accumulation of a large number of charges during a period of months (it) complicates the court’s decisions on sentencing a bit.” However, the judge said, when it comes to plea agreements, “the court’s role is to evaluate whether the sentence the parties have agreed to comes within a ‘range of reasonableness’ (and) the court does think this sentence comes within that range.”
“There are two felony convictions and a number of misdemeanor convictions and these felony convictions will have a significant impact on the defendant in his life,” Judge Gerety said before turning directly to Buckley and concluding, “Make it so that when you come out you’ve got a life ahead of you and, most importantly, make it so you don’t engage in the same kind of conduct again.”
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