Woman Driving Under the Influence Kills 4 Black Mothers. Families Outraged After Judge Accepts Plea Deal

by Xara Aziz
Credit: Orlando Sentinel
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A Florida woman who was driving 25 miles over the speed limit while under the influence, causing her to crash into another vehicle that killed four Black mothers has been sentenced to four years in prison and six years of probation.

Heather Finley accepted a plea deal, but the families of the victims asked Circuit Court Judge Larry Metz to reconsider. According to an Atlanta Black Star report, the plea was accepted because “it was the only way to guarantee that the driver would spend time behind bars. The maximum possible sentence was about 37 years.”

Natalya Davis, a cousin of one of the victims condemned Finley’s punishment, which she said does not match the crime.

“If that’s the value of a Black life today, then I don’t understand where the world is going.”

The victims of the crash include Roslyn Felton, 29, who was in a Chevy Malibu with her cousins Sha’Keila Smith, 26, Kambrea Smith, 26, and Tierra Chambers, 25, when the suspect crashed into their vehicle at around 2am in April 2018. They all were pronounced dead following the crash.

The mothers leave a total of eight children behind and were leaving a bar when the crash took place. According to the report, Chambers, the driver of the vehicle, was turning out of a parking lot when Finley’s car collided into her Chevy Silverado.

Court documents show Finley’s blood alcohol level was at 0.08 percent, which is considered impaired for a driver behind the wheel. She was also driving 59 mph in a 35 mph speed zone.

In addition to Finley’s sentencing, her license has been revoked for three years and must pay $200,000 in restitution to the families. Although prosecutors dropped four DUI counts, she was convicted of four vehicular homicide charges.

“We take care of these children with everything we have in us,” Davis said. “That’s about four lives taken. This is about children who have been left without their mothers.”

During the trial, Chamber’s mother, Jamie Thomas, showed the judge a picture of her daughter.

“I want everyone to see that this is Tierra,” Thomas said. “It’s been four long, excruciating years. I miss her so much. Her baby boy’s second birthday [was] 20 days after she was killed. Imagine trying to plan a funeral and a birthday party for her son at the same time?”

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