Ackley sentenced to maximum
By Jane Beathard
London resident Timothy S. Ackley, 32, will spend the next 16 years in prison for driving drunk and killing a West Jefferson couple last spring.
On Friday, Madison County Common Pleas Judge Robert D. Nichols handed Ackley two consecutive eight-year sentences with no chance of early release for the two counts of aggravated vehicular homicide. It was the maximum prison time allowed under Ohio law. Defense attorney Joe Edwards said he will appeal the sentences.
The convictions stemmed from the deaths of Mark and Jo Ann Williams on state Route 142 on the afternoon of April 7. Ackley’s pick-up was westbound near the Gregg Road intersection when it veered across the center line, hitting the Williams’ eastbound motorcycle head on. The couple died at the scene.
Ackley pleaded guilty to the charges on Oct. 23 and averted a scheduled jury trial. No plea bargain was involved.
It was Ackley’s long criminal history and his conduct at the April 7 accident scene that sealed the man’s fate. That criminal history included involvement in a Licking County home invasion robbery and numerous drunk-driving convictions. He was on probation for a misdemeanor assault conviction at the time of the April crash.
Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers said Ackley was vulgar and belligerent after the accident, uttering insensitive remarks about the victims as they lay dead beneath his truck.
About 20 Williams friends and family members crowded the courtroom for Friday’s emotional hearing. Four fought back tears to describe the impact of the fatal crash on their lives.
Julie Arthur said Mr. Williams was her third brother to die in a drunk-driving accident. She looked directly at Ackley, pounded the court railing, and said she’s fighting feelings of hatred for the man.
Ann Neal, Mrs. Williams’ mother, asked Nichols to levy the maximum sentence, saying the crash left her unable to sleep without medication. She said her mind re-plays Ackley’s attempts to flee the scene, driving over the lifeless bodies of her daughter and son-in-law in the process.
“You will stand before God,” she told Ackley.
Melissa Schopp, Mrs. Williams’ daughter, described her mother’s death as a “hurricane” that ripped through her family. She said her children cry for their grandmother at night. One was found sleeping on Mrs. Williams’ grave, Schopp said.
“I pray for justice, but will accept what’s given,” she added.
Mr. Williams three daughters said they were at a loss to explain their broken hearts. The oldest, Michelle Brooks, described her father as a “great dad, grandfather and friend.”
Brooks said she prays Ackley’s soul will find forgiveness in Jesus Christ.
Given his turn, Ackley faced his victims’ families and apologized. He cried and said he hates himself as much as some of those family members hate him.