ELIZABETHTOWN, KY (WAVE) – A Kentucky judge calls it one of the worst persistent felony offenders he's ever seen. In a single swoop last summer, Brandon Lee Jessie is accused of killing one person and injuring five others in a multi-car crash that topped 125 miles-per-hour. Despite Tuesday's sentencing, the victim's father says he feels justice has not been served in the death of his son.
On June 6, 2010, police say the now 25-year-old Jessie was just out of jail when he stole a car, sped up to an unheard of 125-miles-per-hour and slammed into two other cars in Hardin County at the intersection of 31 West and Joe Prather Highway.
Tuesday, Jessie faced sentencing for injuring five people and killing 36-year-old James Fentress.
"I'm the father of the man he killed and that was the only son that I had - the only child that I had. He may have been 36 years old, but he was my only child," James Fentress, Senior told WAVE 3 News in an exclusive interview.
Fentress' family sat and awaited the judge's decision.
In the courtroom, the judge called the number of Jessie's previous felony convictions at only 25 years old both excessive and surprising. But a plea deal in exchange for an admission of guilt sealed Jessie's fate: 35 years for murder and a host of other charges. It's a decision that isn't sitting well with Fentress' father.
I think it's just wrong that they let a man with 14 felony convictions get away with murder and that's basically what he did," James Fentress Sr. said.
Jessie will be eligible for parole after he serves 85% of his 35-year sentence, which balances out to 30 years.
"I'll never forgive the man," James Fentress Sr. said. "I just hope that I live long enough to go to his parole hearing. For somebody to kill that child while they're on parole and get a 35-year bargain in my opinion is totally ridiculous."
Fentress leaves behind a wife, who spoke in court, saying she's forgiven Jessie, but adding that it's been a tough road for her and for their kids. Now the family is hoping to find justice in a civil suit filed against Jessie.