A Birmingham woman found guilty of reckless manslaughter was sentenced today. Jessica Branham was convicted of hitting and killing Randy Colburn with her vehicle last August.
It happened in the parking lot of Cici's Pizza on Center Point Parkway. Branham told authorities she had used cocaine three times the day she hit Colburn. The last time was just moments before she ran over him with her Kia Aorento, according to authorities.
Today Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Teresa Pulliam sentenced Branham to 10 years in prison, but she will only have to serve three in jail. This is the result of Pulliam choosing a split sentence, in which the maximum prison term is three years.
Another twist in the story may impact how she serves her sentence: Branham is pregnant.
Pulliam asked Branham if she got pregnant in an attempt to sway Pulliam's decision. Branham replied "no," saying it was an accident and she wished she wasn't pregnant, but she added, "It's a blessing from God."
Pulliam told Branham when she reaches eight months in her pregnancy term, she will be released to have her baby. After Branham gives birth, the judge will decide if Branham can finish her sentence through community corrections or if she must return to prison.
Today's sentencing was very emotional for Randy Colburn's family. His then fiance, son, daughter, and sister told the judge what type of impact his death has had on them.
After the hearing, Jessica Branham said she has learned a lifelong lesson. Branham's attorney says she's remorseful.
Branham doesn't have to report to prison until December 28, but up until that time she has to have a drug test every day because she's already tested positive twice for an undisclosed drug since she's been convicted.
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