The man accused of a hit-and-run that led to the death of a bicyclist last year pleaded guilty to reckless homicide on Tuesday and was sentenced to six years in prison.
Pleading to a lesser charge was part of a plea agreement that the victim’s family supported, according to prosecutors.
Jason Frank Marion, 32, of Summerville, entered his plea in a downtown Charleston courtroom. Marion originally was charged with leaving the scene of a collision resulting in death and failure to exercise due care, according to police.
Marion was driving a pickup truck at 1:24 a.m. May 4 when the truck approached Gerard Nieto, who was riding a bicycle on Savannah Highway near White Oak Drive, according to arrest warrants.
Marion struck Nieto from behind, which threw Nieto off his bicycle onto the road, according to Stephanie Linder, assistant solicitor for the 9th Circuit Solicitor’s Office. Marion’s truck dragged the bike for about a quarter-mile and the driver fled the scene, she said.
Marion did not render aid, wait for police or report the accident, warrants said. A few days later Marion turned himself into the Charleston Police Department. Nieto’s family supported the prosecution’s plea agreement, Linder said.
The Nieto family’s attorney Sandy Senn released this statement following the hearing: “Gerry Nieto’s loss is felt by his friends and family every day, but they see no sense in destroying two families. The Nietos believe that the sentence was appropriate as it punishes Mr. Marion with prison time for harming Gerry, yet it leaves room for Marion to be rehabilitated and reunited with his own family before his young daughter is all grown up.”
Along with the six-year sentence, Marion was also sentenced to three years of probation. Marion’s attorneys, Billy Monckton and Francis Humphries, released a statement via e-mail regarding his plea: “Jason Marion is extremely remorseful and saddened for the damage he has caused the entire Nieto family.”
Reach Natalie Caula at 937-5594 or Twitter.com/ncaula.