Drunken driver who had skipped hearing gets 50 years in fatal crash

UPPER MARLBORO, Md. — A D.C. man who sparked a manhunt after failing to show up to his first sentencing hearing for a fatal drunken driving crash has been sentenced to 50 years in prison.

Before his first sentencing hearing on May 12, Kenneth Kelley, 27, was out on bond. When the day came to receive his punishment after pleading guilty, he was a no-show.

Kelley was supposed to have a GPS monitoring device on at the time, but for unknown reasons it either didn’t work or was removed.

He disappeared for several days before a tip led police to his location at a Suitland, Maryland, hotel.

On Friday, Kelley — dressed in an orange jumpsuit — was escorted into the courtroom by Prince George’s County Sheriff’s Office deputies.

Among those asking Circuit Judge Albert Northrop for the toughest sentence was Haddassah Belle Boykin, the driver and sole survivor in the car that Kelley slammed into on an Oxon Hill road in 2014.

Prosecutors say that on the night of the crash, Kelley was drunk and going more than double the speed limit when he crashed into Boykin’s car, sending it into a light pole.

Killed in the crash were her children: 1-year-old Hassan Boykin and 13-year-old Khadiua Ba, as well as Boykin’s adult nieces Tameika Curtis, 35, and Typhani Wilkerson, 32. Dominique Green, 21, who was riding in Kelley’s Mercedes, was also killed in the crash.

Boykin told the judge that now, her “life means nothing” after the death of her only children.

Outside the courthouse, the mother thanked the judge for delivering the maximum sentence but said it wouldn’t bring back her children or nieces.

“At least he is in jail now,” Boykin said.

The grandmother of the two young children, Fay Everston-Berry, told the court about her “glowing smart” granddaughter Khadiua, who did very well in school and spoke three languages.

Everston-Berry urged the judge to give her family some sort of peace with the sentence. After the hearing, she said that was accomplished.

“I appreciate Judge Northrop’s mercy by giving him the max, because he surely deserved what he gave,” Everston-Berry said.

Before sentencing Kelley, Northrop said that this was one of his saddest moments since becoming a judge in 1969. In addition to the 50-year sentence on the manslaughter charges, Kelley was also sentenced to a year for driving drunk and given 24 days in prison for his failure to appear at his first sentencing hearing.

Once the verdict was read, members of Kelley’s family began to openly sob. Some stormed out of the courtroom and collapsed on the hallway outside in tears.

“They gave him 50 years. It might as well be life,” one family member yelled outside the courtroom.

After the sentencing, Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks said the maximum sentence was what Kelley deserved.

“He had a very high disregard for the law, and we are satisfied that he has been removed from our community,” Alsobrooks said.

Abigail Constantino

Abigail Constantino started her journalism career writing for a local newspaper in Fairfax County, Virginia. She is a graduate of American University and The George Washington University.

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