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DUI victims’ families upset over 2-year reduction of offender’s sentence

KENT — A convicted drunken driver who killed two teenagers had a quarter of his prison sentence reduced Friday.

Alexander Peder was supposed to serve eight and a half years behind bars for a June 2010 vehicular homicide.  Peder hit and killed Federal Way high school seniors Derek King and Nick Hodgins, and injured their friend Anthony Beaver.

pederWhen Peder was sentenced, the judge added two years as an enhancement for a prior DUI that had been reduced to a lesser charge.   Later, the state Supreme Court said you can’t do that.

To the families of the victims, it hurts, especially after they agreed to take part in a video with Peder and the Washington State Patrol.

The video was meant to be a prevention tool for the public; instead, the victim’s families say it feels like Peder used it as a pawn.

“It tells us that he is ringing a hollow bell of remorse,” said Derek King’s father, Randall.  “There’s absolutely no credence to anything he’s been telling us that he’s remorseful.  It makes us feel the video he did with us was a setup to get off and do this move.”

Aside from the enhancement reversal, Peder’s attorney also asked the judge to reconsider his client’s entire sentence and bring it down even more, but the judge denied that request.

The victims’ families say going through this hearing right before the holidays has been painful.

They’ve lost so much and feel this process is not fair.

“For him to do all this work to get out sooner, it just disgusts me.  It just disgusts me,” said Nick Hodgins’ mother, Mary Bobbitt.

Lawmakers used this case as a means to more than double the state’s vehicular homicide sentencing range.  Earlier this year, the Legislature also closed the loophole Peder used in this appeal and now judges must consider prior deferred DUIs as part of an offender’s criminal history.

 

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