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Old 02-05-2005, 10:56 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Heatley gets 3 years probation

http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/news_story.asp?ID=113782

Quote:
2/4/2005

ATLANTA (AP) - Graham Snyder lost his son after NHL star Dany Heatley crashed his Ferrari while speeding on a winding road. He asked a judge Friday not to compound that loss by putting Heatley in jail.

Judge Rowland Barnes honoured the wishes of the victim's father as he sentenced Heatley to three years of probation after the Atlanta Thrashers forward pleaded guilty to charges arising from the car crash that resulted in the death of teammate Dan Snyder.

If the case had gone to trial and Heatley was convicted on all counts, he would have faced up to 20 years in prison and fines totalling $5,000 US.

"Forgiveness in our hearts has helped us move on," Graham Snyder said. "We forgive because Dany has shown remorse to our family."

Barnes acknowledged the father's support for Heatley in issuing the sentence, though he noted: "I don't know that I could do this if I were you."

Heatley was also ordered to give 150 public speeches about the dangers of speeding. Prosecutor Shondeana Crews had recommended 750 hours of community service, but the judge imposed the speeches instead.

"The mistake I made that night was speeding," Heatley said at his sentencing. "This mistake will stay with me the rest of my life."

Heatley pleaded guilty to second-degree vehicular homicide, driving too fast for conditions, failure to maintain a lane and speeding for the Sept. 29, 2003, crash in Atlanta.

On the four charges he pleaded guilty to, he would have faced a maximum of four years in jail.

In exchange for his plea, the 24-year-old from Calgary saw the only felony charge - first-degree vehicular homicide - dropped along with a charge of reckless driving.

The state and defence did not have a binding agreement regarding what sentence Heatley would receive, leaving that issue up to the judge. Had Heatley not liked the sentence, he would not have been allowed to withdraw his guilty pleas.

Defence lawyers believe the plea allows Heatley, a Canadian citizen, to avoid any threat of deportation, and therefore should not affect his ability to play in the NHL. Prosecutors, however, said there is no guarantee.

Heatley was driving his black Ferrari convertible on a curved road in a residential area when it ran into a brick pillar and iron fence. Authorities said Heatley had consumed some alcohol, but was not intoxicated.

Snyder, a 25-year-old Snyder from Elmira, Ont., who was a passenger in the car, died after six days in a coma.

Crews said police experts found Heatley was driving at 82 m.p.h. (132 km/h). Defence lawyer Ed Garland said one expert thought Heatley was driving only 55 m.p.h. (88.5 km/h). The speed limit was 35 m.p.h. (56 km/h).

Judge Barnes said he noted the discrepancies among speed estimates when agreeing to the plea.

Under the terms of his probation, Heatley must give at least 50 public speeches each year about the dangers of speeding - nearly one speech a week. The speeches must be conducted at schools, colleges and public events where young people will be in attendance.

He also cannot drive except for work, medical purposes, going to the grocery store or for attending his speeches.

The judge also said the court will have to approve the type of car Heatley drives. The car cannot have more than six cylinders and will have a mechanism to prevent it from exceeding 70 m.p.h. (112 km/h).

Graham Snyder and Dan's brother, Jake, both testified about their loss but agreed they didn't want Heatley to go to jail or lose his hockey career over it.

"Dany has a burden that he will carry for the rest of his life," Graham Snyder said.

Jake Snyder said in a statement that Heatley was someone his brother counted on.

"I know he never intended for this to happen. I don't want to see my friend go to prison, I know Dan would feel the same way," Jake Snyder said.

Heatley is one the game's rising superstars, an all-around talent who was on the cover of a major video hockey game at the time of his accident. The MVP of the 2004 IIHF men's world championship in Prague, Heatley also helped Canada win the NHL's World Cup of Hockey and was the MVP of the 2002-03 NHL all-star game.

A great skater with the body to break tight checking, Heatley has a laser of a shot, as he demonstrated when he rifled a slapshot from just inside the blue-line to lift Canada to an overtime victory over Finland in the world championship quarter-finals in Prague.

Heatley, who was born in Germany, was drafted by the Thrashers second overall in the 2000 NHL entry draft. He won the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year in 2001-02 season.

District attorney Paul Howard said he thinks Heatley's sentence is fair.

"This was a traffic-related incident," he said. "It was not an intentional incident."

Garland said the families believe that justice was served by the plea and sentence.

"Yes, he was speeding, and he accepts responsibility for that," Garland said of Heatley.

Thrashers general manager Don Waddell said the team is glad the case is over.

"This has been a difficult time for everyone involved," Waddell told reporters. "We're very thankful to the legal community to allow Dany to remain with the Thrashers."

Under federal immigration law, an alien convicted of an "aggravated felony," such as a crime of violence, can be deported if the person is sentenced to more than one year in jail.

The law also says that an alien convicted of a crime involving "moral turpitude" can be excluded from entering the country. One exception is if the maximum possible sentence for the crime an alien is convicted of doesn't exceed one year in jail and the actual term the person is given doesn't exceed six months.
Thoughts? I really didn't want to see him go to jail. The family has TOTALLY forgiven him and didn't want him to lose his career over one stupid mistake.

There will be people who will cry foul because he deserved to fry for what he did, people who would have seen him serve the full 20 years for what he did. I'm not one of those people. I believe in forgiveness, and in this case it was all there.

Danny Heatley has officially used up 8 of his 9 lives with this little incident
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Old 02-05-2005, 11:30 AM   #2 (permalink)
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wow...

if the victim's father can forgive him, who is anyone else to not?
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Old 02-05-2005, 11:59 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Hopefully all those speeches he has to give end up helping someone, although I imagine if the majority of them are in the U.S. most of the young people in attendance might be more influenced by an athlete from another sport.
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Old 02-05-2005, 11:59 AM   #4 (permalink)
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he is going to be busy though, he has to give 150 speeches to kids also..
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Old 02-05-2005, 03:14 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Would not have solved anything by putting him in jail, I still think the state was looking for some publicity by going so far with the charges, even after the synder family said that they did not want him charged.
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Old 02-05-2005, 08:19 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Well, they did the right thing, but still, a life was lost through a reckless behavior. If this was something I would have done, I'd have been fried fore sure. As long as he has learned from his mistake, but will never forget what he's done (and I'm sure he won't), then justice is served.
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Old 02-09-2005, 08:09 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I still think he got off easy. Not going to rant about it like the last time, however.
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Old 02-09-2005, 08:25 PM   #8 (permalink)
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it would be a bitch to give 150 speeches, thats cool that the dad will forgive him, Heatley is lucky he is famous, otherwise he would have got that shit way bad...
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Old 02-09-2005, 11:46 PM   #9 (permalink)
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If he wasn't famous, he would not have had a Ferrari to joy-ride, either.

It makes sense for him to give speeches to prevent further incidents than just putting him in jail for a couple months.
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Old 02-10-2005, 11:54 AM   #10 (permalink)
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And less than a week later he has already signed on with a team in the Russian Elite League:
http://www.mytelus.com/sports/articl...cleID=1842018&

Can't really blame him for that
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Old 02-10-2005, 04:14 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Well, since the victim's family was so adament about him not being punished more severely, I guess justice was served. I think he should have gone to jail for this crime, but that isn't my place to decide. The Snyder family has almost brought Heatley in as a son... I guess they didn't want to lose another one.
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Old 02-10-2005, 04:31 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I'm glad for Heatley, that he will be able to play and continue his career. I'm also glad that Snyder's family was able to come to terms and forgive Heatley. It would have been a shame for two peoples lives to have been ruined.
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