KALAMAZOO, Mich. — At one point during David Mills’ sentencing it looked like the 18-year-old was going to cry. He was standing at the courtroom podium and took several deep breaths while delivering a message to the victim’s family.
“I would just like to say I deeply apologize to the Norton family for being irresponsible for causing the death of your loved one,” said Mills at the Kalamazoo County Courthouse. “I know words can’t change the situation, the circumstances that we’re here for today.”
Judge Gary Giguere Mills sentenced Mills to 81-180 months in prison for killing 33-year-old Crystal Norton in a car accident in early January. Police said she was backing out onto Oakland Drive in Portage when Mills crashed into her.
“It changed me mentally due to the fact that I know I made the biggest mistake of my life at such a young age and being in a wrong state of mind,” said Mills continued. “With that being said, I just want you guys to forgive me, please and thank you.”
Mills was 17-years-old at the time of the crash. Police said he led them on a wild chase through Kalamazoo and Portage with Mills driving close to 80 miles-per-hour. When he crashed into Norton’s car, she died instantly. The day before she was celebrating her daughter’s 9th birthday.
“My mother passed away in September of last year,” said Crystal Norton’s brother Charles in court. “My father passed away three years ago. I would just like to request that this court has his sentence do consecutively and not concurrently ‘cause up to 15 years, that’s not enough to punish him for taking a person’s life.”
Charles' request was denied. He said he’s already forgiven Mills and holds no “ill will” or bad feelings towards him.
“I’m not going to dog the guy,” said Norton. “I’m not going to talk bad about him, never have, never will.”
Charles sat next to his daughter Ilene during court today, one row in front of Mills' family. He’s focused on moving on and staying positive for him and his daughter.
“At least there’s visiting hours in prison cuz there’s no visiting hours up in Heaven,” said 13-year-old Ilene after the sentencing. “I’m glad he apologized but the apology won’t bring my aunt back.”