McCauley: 'I wish I could have died instead of her'

McCauley being escorted out of court in May of 2012. (WCIV)

By Ava Wilhite{}

Charleston, S.C. (WCIV) -- Twenty-year-old Samuel McCauley gave a final statement to the judge at his sentencing hearing on Friday.

"I wish I could have died instead of her and the fact that she did die is something that I will have to live with forever. And I'll be sorry forever," said McCauley, who pleaded guilty last May to killing 72-year-old Eleanor Caperton.

McCauley's blood alcohol content was measured at .208, about two and a half times the legal limit.

McCauley was held at the Charleston County Detention Center until his sentencing hearing Friday. His sentence had been postponed until a pre-sentencing investigation could be completed by the court.

{}McCauley was driving the wrong way on Interstate 26 when he hit Caperton's car head on.{} Caperton's son, niece and sister all gave testimony.{}

"Thoughts of this accident and all of these horrific injuries haunt me every day. The untimely death of my only sister has affected me and my entire body greatly," said Caperton's sister Phyllis.

Attorney for the state Jennifer Kinzler told the court McCauley's actions were reckless.

"These people meant to get as intoxicated as they did, they knew the risks that are involved and they did it anyway," said Kinzler. {}

McCauley's mother Denise was able to stand with her son as she gave testimony to his character.

"I'm here today to stand beside Sam and tell the court that this is a good person here next to me," said Denise McCauley. {}

McCauley's lawyer, Capers Barr, asked the judge to sentence him to one year in prison followed by probation.

"I would be less than honest if I didn't say that I'm disappointed at the length of the active sentence, I hope Sam will have the strength of character to sustain the positive attitude," said Barr.

Barr said his client did not go unaffected. He told the court that McCauley "asked to be shot when he found out he killed Caperton in the crash."

A counselor told the judge that McCauley has gone through at least 13 therapy sessions where he "expressed sadness over the life he took." The counselor also said McCauley voiced concerns about becoming a "hardened" person in prison and that a long sentence could "turn him into a criminal."

Caperton's family said they are not happy, but not disappointed with the 15 year sentence.

"Nothing can bring my aunt back. Our hearts are permanently broken. It is good though to see that Samuel McCauley will be penalized for his crimes and that justice has been served," said Caperton's niece Gina Buchardt.{}

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