The Jefferson City man charged in the deaths of two motorists in Cole County in the summer of 2011 appeared in court for sentencing today.
Damien Bryan was sentenced to nearly 30 years in prison for causing the accident that killed Russellville resident Don Edwards, and Kansas resident Joan Hamilton. Authorities said Bryan was under the influence of meth when he crossed the center line and set off a chain reaction.
"The blue pickup was trying to cross South Country Club road, either to get on Route C or to go on Ramsey Lane." said police.
While one mistrial delayed the proceedings, Bryan ultimately was convicted on two counts of felony murder and persistent offender DWI.
The judge would not allow recording of the tearful testimony of family members who described how their lives had been shattered, and who labeled Damien Bryan a "remorseless loser."
"I said everything I wanted to say. I looked him in the eye 80 percent of the time I was talking. I wanted him to know that I was talking to him, not to anybody else," said Betsey Browning, Don Edwards' daughter.
"The system, on his prior charges, only had specific ranges of punishment, and he's been to prison before and been paroled on those charges before. It's been awhile since he actually had been convicted of anything that would put him in a correctional facility," said special prosecutor Amanda Grellner.
In the end, Judge Joyce Brown gave Bryan 25 years on each of the two counts of felony murder, to run concurrently, plus an extra three years for the DWI charge for a total of 28 years behind bars. He must serve 85 percent of that before being considered for parole. He will be in his sixties.
His statement of apology apparently carried little weight.
"He wasn't speaking to me and and he wasn't speaking from his heart. So it really doesn't mean anything to me," said Browning.