The man charged in the 2012 death of Lowell Police Chief Joe Landers in a drunk driving accident last April, pleaded guilty Thursday in a Florida courtroom.
"I don't know that a guilty plea or any kind of jail time will ever, it will never change anything," said Whit Landers, son of Chief Landers.
Jimmy Christo, Jr., 53, pleaded guilty to the Arkansas equivalent of vehicular homicide in the hit and run incident.
"I'm just hoping to find a small part of your broken heart which y'all can forgive me. God has forgiven me," said Christo.
A judge sentenced Christo to 12 years in prison followed by five years probation.
Landers' daughter Callie was in the courtroom.
"The impact that this event has had on my life is more than just the loss of my dad. It's completely turned my world upside down," she said.
"He's had these proceedings prolonged for eight months now and, in my opinion it was just to spend more time with his family and spend the holidays with his family. We never got to do that. That was taken away from us by him," said Whit.
According to police, Christo was driving with a blood alcohol level nearly three times the legal limit when he pulled out in front of Chief Landers' motorcycle, throwing him from his bike. It happened April 27th in Panama City, Florida, where Landers was on vacation.
"It's been tough, it's been really really hard. There are so many people that knew dad that will come up and talk to us about it. It's like a never ending conversation no matter where you go," Callie Landers said.
Landers died of his injuries May 4th. Now, his son is left with only memories.
"I wish that more people could have known him... The free spirit that he lived with and the way that he conducted not only his personal life but his professional life, is something that people could look up to and admire," said Whit Landers.
And Whit believes there is a simple way to keep his dad's legacy alive.
"If you take a drink, think about it before you get in your vehicle... You may drive a thousand times after drinking and nothing ever happened, but it just takes once," he said.
Both Whit and Callie said they believe in the justice system their dad worked so many years for, so they are fine with the judge's decision. Of course, Callie would have liked to see the maximum sentence of 45 years, but said no sentence will ever bring her dad back.
Landers spent 17 years on the Lowell Police Force and served as the the Chief of Police for 15 years.
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Original story (May 30):
The man facing charges in the crash that killed Lowell police chief Joe Landers was back behind bars on Tuesday.
Jimmy John Christo, Jr., 52, of Panama City Beach, was arrested and jailed for the hit and run traffic death that happened on April 27th.
The Florida Highway Patrol is charging Christo with DUI manslaughter.
State troopers say Christo was attempting a turn when he drove into traffic and into the path of Joe Landers.
Chief Landers was in town for the Thunder Beach motorcycle rally the following weekend. He was critically injured and died a week later.