A 25-year-old Milledgeville man pleaded guilty Friday in Baldwin County Superior Court to a pair of felony criminal charges in connection with a 2017 car chase and crash with a state trooper that killed his cousin.
And as a result, Carl Barnard Justice will be spending the next 15 years of his life behind prison walls.
Justice pleaded guilty to one count of homicide by a vehicle in the first degree and one count of causing serious injury by a vehicle, according to court records obtained from the Baldwin County Superior Court Clerk’s Office.
Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Amanda S. Petty sentenced Justice to a total of 30 years; 15 years in prison on the vehicular homicide charge, and 15 years probation on the conviction stemming from the other charge. The sentences are to run consecutively.
Justice was also fined $1,000 related to the vehicular homicide charge, according to court records.
Petty also ordered that the defendant, who was represented during his guilty verdicts and subsequently the sentencing phase by defense attorney Keri Thompson, pay $3,804 in restitution to one of the victims injured in a head-on crash during the chase with Georgia State Patrol Trooper Patrick Prosser. The wreck claimed the life of Justice’s cousin, Taboris Macell Wright, on Oct. 11, 2017, on the 600 block of Dunlap Road in Milledgeville.
The chase that led to other wrecks at the same time on the same road began when Prosser saw the driver of a 2003 Mercury Grand Marquis not wearing his seat belt while traveling along Hancock Street.
Grand jurors indicted Justice back in July on nine different charges. They included two counts of vehicular homicide in the first degree, two counts of serious injury by a vehicle, three counts of fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer, hit-and-run, and reckless driving.
Justice pleaded guilty to two of those charges.
The remainder of those charges were “nol processed” by the Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office. Assistant District Attorney Ashley Herndon prosecuted Justice on behalf of the state.
The grand jury had considered a 10th charges against Justice — failure to wear a seat belt, but that charge was “no-billed,” court records show.