Cory Burkeen sentenced

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Reporter - Jason Hibbs
Photojournalist - Chad Darnall

MARSHALL COUNTY, Ky. - Family members speak out.  More than a year after a crash killed a teenager and seriously injured another, the man who admits responsibility leans his fate.

Cory Burkeen of Marshall County received a 10-year prison sentence.

19-year-old Landon Lovett and her friend Shane McKenty were critically injured in the crash on Highway 95 in Marshall County, back in May of 2012.  McKenty is slowly recovering but Lovett died in November, as a result of the crash.

The Lovetts say they are still heartbroken and grieving but not surprised by this decision because were a big part of the decision itself.

Before Burkeen's trial, all sides sat down to negotiate a deal.  Part of the deal:  Burkeen's original murder charge was amended to manslaughter.  He'll serve at least eight and a half years.

The Lovetts said they hope and pray during that time, Burkeen changes.

For the Lovetts, the final forum was their last chance to say something to Cory Burkeen before he was sent to prison.  They let their pastor do the talking.

"Trent and Lisa will never be able to watch their daughter graduate from college, walk her down the aisle in marriage or hold her children as their grandchildren," the statement said.

The four minute statement led the Lovetts to tears, Burkeen looked down.

"It'll be our hope and prayer that one day Cory would be able to understand the hurt and pain that has been caused," the statement went on to say.

Burkeen has years to think about what happened in May of 2012.

His mother, Judy Blades is confident Cory will clean up his act and hopes others learn from her son's mistake.

"All these young kids are going to experiment with drugs and stuff I just hope they see by all this that they learn something through this, but sometimes they don't," Blades said.

This cost a 19-year-old her life.

Commonwealth Attorney Mark Blankenship says no plea deal lessens the pain.

"The hole that the family has is always going to be there, but you do get some closure," Blankenship said.

For the last 16 months, closure is something this family has waited for.

"You can leave the courthouse and feel as those something happen that's significant and now we push on," Blankenshp said.

Shane McKenty's family didn't want to comment on camera.  Neither did Shane, who was in court.  Family members tell Local 6, while Shane is recovering, he has to go to therapy every day.

There's a chance Burkeen could go back to jail because he has a pending burglary case. Blankenship said Burkeen pled guilty to that but won't be sentenced until 2020, he could then spend another ten years in jail.

Blankenship said Burkeen will likely be sent to the state penitentiary Eddyville or Lagrange, Kentucky.

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