YORKVILLE – Two years after what he said was the worst day of his life, the father of Oswego High School softball coach Amanda Stanton of Lockport gave his reaction to the sentencing of the man responsible for her death.
Jerry Stanton, father of Amanda Stanton, said after the Monday, June 29 sentencing hearing at the Kendall County Courthouse in Yorkville that he was disappointed at the sentence because he thought it could have been longer.
Kendall County Chief Judge Robert Pilmer sentenced Nehemiah Williams, 40, of Aurora, to 12 years total in the Illinois Department of Corrections on charges related to the hit and run death of Stanton's daughter.
Stanton said he was not surprised at Williams' sentence because he was aware of all the potential sentencing outcomes after taking with the county state's attorney's office prior to the sentencing hearing.
"We have to accept what the judge ruled on," Stanton said.
Pilmer sentenced Williams for nine years in prison and 2 years of parole for not reporting an accident related to the death of Stanton; three years in prison and one year of parole for reckless homicide; and three years in prison and one year of parole for driving with a revoked or suspended license. He said the failure to report and reckless homicide sentences are concurrent, while the failure to report and driving with a suspended license sentences are consecutive.
Pilmer said 268 days would be credited to Williams' sentence for time already served.
Williams also provided a statement to the court and addressed family members and friends of Amanda Stanton. Jerry Stanton declined comment in response to Williams' statement he made in court.
Stanton said his daughter was full of joy and would light up any room she would walk into. He said her calling was being a coach and she was good at motivating her players.
The Stanton family has since created the Stanton Scholarship Fund to honor the deceased coach and the hope is to continue to be able to offer scholarships through the fund, Stanton said. He said the fundraising for the scholarship has been phenomenal and at one time there was close to $36,000 in the fund. He said people continue to donate to the fund, including through an annual golf outing.
Stanton said the family wants to continue honoring her legacy by doing the things she loved to do, including helping other people. He said his daughter's initial calling was to be a special education math teacher but it was at the recommendation of Oswego High School staff that she became the school's head varsity coach.
Stanton said there were a lot of people hurt by his daughter's death two years ago, especially the players she coached and their families and friends. He said he ultimately would like the community to heal and learn from this.
"People need to be accountable for their actions," Stanton said. " ... People have choices and, as a society, we have to make the right choices. I think right now, with the way the world's going, a lot of people need to re-think that and really think about making the right choice."