LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Two years have passed since 24-year-old Cory Starrett was hit and killed by a drunk driver.
Charles Ballard was convicted of reckless homicide, but Starrett's family says Ballard was released less than a year into his sentence.
Wednesday night, Starrett's family held a vigil at the corner of 25th Street and Griffiths Avenue in the Portland neighborhood, where he died. The family said they are still hurting and working to bring awareness to a justice system that they say is flawed.
"Cory was a happy person, he was a loving person," Starrett's widow Stephanie Rawls said. "Cory would sit there if there was a room full of sad people he was going to crack jokes and make you laugh."
Through her tears, Rawls reflected on the happiest day of her life, the day she and Starrett got married. She shuffled through several poster boards all jam-packed with photos of them together. She has done this before, the year before was the same, with balloon releases, tears and candles in memory of Starrett.
"This man hit my husband doing 80 miles an hour," Rawls explained. "Backed over my husband and hit him again."
The deadly crash happened in 2015. Rawls said Starrett knew Charles Ballard was coming for him. She added that she comes back every year so no one forgets about that day or that intersection.
"Our system needs to be corrected, our justice system. It's like they throw him in jail and they let him loose," Rawls said. "There's no justice being served here."
Ballard was initially charged with murder and other lesser charges. Court documents show Ballard eventually pleaded guilty to reckless homicide and was sentenced to three years in prison. It's unclear when exactly he was released but Starrett's family claims it was less than a year of prison time for him.
"Charles Ballard done this to my child, my oldest son, there was no justice done," Starrett's mother Stacy Garrett said.
Rawls added that the pain gets stronger as time goes by. Two years and another balloon release later, Rawls seemed determined to continue to return to the spot.
"I feel like he has voices here and they will be spoken and they will be heard," Rawls said. "Until the day that I pass, I will always be a voice for him."