Sunday, September 13, 2009

E. Moline man sentenced to 16 years in van death of "girlfriend"

An East Moline, IL man will serve 16 years, 8 years each for involuntary manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident, for the death of his "girlfriend" after she fell off the side of a van he was driving. Rock Island County jurors convicted Henry Sims of the charges in June, a year after the incident involving Sims and his "girlfriend," Erin Waeyaert, who was 24 when she died June 15, 2008.

Wayert let Sims drive her van before taking the van back after rumors Sims was cheating on her. Sims' tried to retake the van, at the victims' mother's house, but Wayert held on while standing on the passenger side running board. Sims, while driving at a high rate of speed, sped off as Wayert fell off the side of the van, dying from her injuries.

Sims accused the prosecution of being corrupt by pursuing a murder conviction against him at trial. The Rock Island County State's Attorney's office argued that he tried to knock Waeyaert off the vehicle.

Assistant Rock Island County State's Attorney Norma Kauzlarich asked Braud for the maximum sentence and cited Sims' lengthy criminal history, which includes other offenses against women, as part of her argument.

She also noted that Sims has a poor employment record. Sims' attorney Jack Schwartz argued for a lower sentence saying that Sims should not be separated from his family for too long.

Judge Braud heard from the victim's brother, Andrew Waeyaert, noting that Sims never checked up on his "girlfriend" after she fell from the van. "God did not take Erin away from us, Henry Sims did. Along with her he took away a part of us."

Braud took into consideration Sims' other acts against women, reckless driving convictions, and lack of remorse, stating that "You still are telling me how this victim jumped on her car and it's somehow her fault."

No comments: