Mother says plea deal for son's killer is not justice - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Mother says plea deal for son's killer is not justice

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James Stover during his July 6 hearing. James Stover during his July 6 hearing.
Camden McCroskey (Source: Kim Vanderhaar) Camden McCroskey (Source: Kim Vanderhaar)
Kim Vanderhaar gives her reaction to the plea deal. Kim Vanderhaar gives her reaction to the plea deal.
Markers noting the location of items at the shooting scene. Markers noting the location of items at the shooting scene.
McCroskey's truck at the shooting scene. McCroskey's truck at the shooting scene.

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A man accused of shooting and killing another may only serve a few years in prison after accepting a plea deal.

James Stover pled guilty to first degree manslaughter and theft by unlawful taking in the death of Camden McCroskey. The combined, consecutive sentence carries 20 years. However, Stover may only serve five years once he is eligible for parole.

Stover is one of two men charged with killing McCroskey, the son of Kim Vanderhaar.

"It's not justice at all. It's killing me," said Vanderhaar. "Camden deserved to have a trial."

On April 3, 2009, Louisville Metro Police say Stover and Jeffery Moore shot and killed McCroskey in the parking lot of the ValuMarket in the 7500 block of the Outer Loop.

Jury selection in Stover's case was expected to begin July 13, but prosecutors didn't want to proceed with a trial.

"There's a possibility Stover could've used self-defense," Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Frank Dahl said. "The facts we believe would've been presented to a jury is that he was armed with a handgun."

McCroskey had a gun when he and Stover met in a parking lot to exchange cash for marijuana. Dahl said the judge would've been required to instruct the jury on Kentucky's self defense law and Stover may have got off on lesser charges, like manslaughter in the second degree and reckless homicide.

"Which would've resulted in a sentence much less than murder and much less than how we resolved this case by through this plea," Dahl said.

The manslaughter and theft charges would allow Stover a parole board hearing in 8 ½ years. Stover has already served three years in Metro Corrections, resulting in approximately 5 ½ years in prison before he's eligible for parole.

Vanderhaar said, "The justice system failed our family."

Stover was sentenced immediately after the plea hearing.

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