NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – The North Carolina Court of Appeals unanimously upheld Tuesday a jury's verdict in a trial involving the deaths of a father and son who were killed riding their bikes down River Road.
A jury in New Hanover County Superior Court found Thomas Grooms guilty of killing David and Trey Doolittle April 3, 2011 who were riding their bikes.
Grooms was found guilty of two counts of second-degree murder, two counts of felony death by motor vehicle, reckless driving and possession of an open container of alcohol. He was sentenced to 24-30 years in jail.
According to the District Attorney's Office, the Court of Appeals ruling means Grooms' sentence will be upheld and that he does not have automatic right to be heard by the North Carolina Supreme Court.
"This case sets important precedent that impaired driving, especially by someone who drives habitually impaired, is no accident; where a defendant causes death, it may very well be murder," said DA Ben David, who tried the case along with ADA Doug Carriker. "Mr. Grooms will almost certainly spend the rest of his life in prison and David and Trey's legacy will help future victims for years to come."
According to a news release from the DA's Office, the "Grooms" decision will be used in future prosecution of impaired driving that result in death, including the upcoming case of State V. Anthony Thompson.
Thompson was charged with second-degree murder in connection to the death of John Colville, a tow truck driver who was helping another motorist with a flat tire on Carolina Beach Road in November 2012.
Thompson's trial is expected to begin in November.
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