Christo Sentenced To 12 Years In Death Of Police Chief - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Christo Sentenced To 12 Years In Death Of Police Chief

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Bay County, Fla. -

They are two families, two cities, forever connected by one tragic accident. Thursday, the families of Jimmy Christo and the victim, Lowell, Arkansas police chief Joe Landers met at the Bay County courthouse to learn Christo's fate.

In front of a packed room, the two heartbroken families make their final appeal.

"I wake up in the middle of the night, from nightmares, my dad laying in the middle of the road," said Callie Landers.

"He has good intentions, good values, and he's a very good person... I know because he's my brother," said Kathy Christo

Last April, 51 year old Landers was on his Harley Davidson Motorcycle traveling west on Thomas Drive. A Toyota Camry being driven eastbound by the 53 year old Christo, who had been drinking, crossed into his path.

"I looked both ways, I thought it was clear, I proceeded into the intersection where I heard a thump," Christo told the court Thursday.

Landers was badly injured and rushed to Bay Medical Center where he died one week later. Christo continued to drive home, but was arrested and later plead guilty to DUI manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident. He says the entire situation haunted him.

Thursday, Judge Brantley Clark handed down the ruling - 12 years on both the DUI manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident, set to run concurrently. Among Christo's supporters Thursday were former Panama City mayor and Christo's childhood friend Scott Clemons.

"I know the pain and the guilt that he will feel will be worse than it will be for most people because of how tender hearted he is," Clemons told the courtroom.  

Christo attempted to appeal to the Landers' family.

"I just hope you find a small part in your broken heart in which ya'll can forgive me. God has forgiven me," Christo said.

Callie Landers, the daughter of the fallen police chief, said Christo had to pay for his choices.

"He chose to drink that night, he chose to get in his car and drive, and he showed complete disregard for human life by leaving my dad laying in the middle of the road to die."

The 12 year sentence will be followed with 5 years of probation. He will also have his license revoked for life. Chrsto will have 30 days to appeal his sentence.