Repeat Drunk Driver Convicted of Killing 9-Year-Old
California resident Edward Schaefer was sentenced to 24 years to life in prison a day after the victim of his crime would have celebrated her 11th birthday.
In the case, he was convicted of his ninth DUI, and of second-degree murder in the death of then nine-year-old Melody Osheroff, reports the San Jose Mercury News. His was the maximum sentence allowed by the law.
Just before the sentence was handed down, Schaefer apologized. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I am ashamed to have caused this terrible tragedy with this girl losing her life, the injuries to her father and the damage I have caused their family.”
Judge Terrence Boren also ordered Schaefer to pay more than $1 million in restitution for the death of Melody and for the injuries to her father, Aaron.
Friends and family gathered at the sentencing, holding photos of Melody and Aaron, crying and hugging and comforting each other. The Osheroff family had spent the three-hour hearing before sentencing pleading for Schaefer to get the maximum sentence.
According to the report, this was Schaefer’s ninth drunk driving conviction. On the tragic night, he was drunk while operating his motorcycle. When he came to an intersection near the home of the Osheroffs, he weaved through a few stopped cars and blasted through the intersection at 60 miles per hour. He hit Melody and her father. She died as a result of her injuries the next day. Aaron, her father, had to have one of his legs amputated, and he almost lost the other one.
“Hopefully that’s enough time to have him live out his life behind bars,” said Aaron Osheroff, who is a computer technician. “Because he deserves it and the community needs to be safe from him.”
On May 6, Schaefer was formally convicted of second-degree murder and gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated for the death of Melody Osheroff, and driving with a blood-alcohol content above the legal limit, mayhem and DUI causing great bodily injury.
As a result of a prior conviction, the judge added another year to his sentence, and he denied Schaefer, 44, the chance for parole. Only after he finishes his 24th year in prison will Schaefer be eligible for parole. He won’t even get any credit for good behavior behind bars.
The San Jose Mercury News stated that the judge had forceful words for the repeat-offending Schaefer. “There are some people who come in after one DUI and are so humiliated by their actions that they are then compelled to lead an alcohol-free life. That is not the case here. The defendant made choices that led to this occasion. The consequences are directly related to his actions.”
Schaefer expressed the remorse that he did for the first time in a public setting. “I spent four days unconscious and then was on pain medication after that. When I came out of that and felt the impact of what I had done, I was devastated. I am sorry, very sorry. I hope the Osheroff family will find healing and peace in their lives.”
Osheroff questioned the sincerity of this sentiment. “His apology is pretty meaningless to me,” he said. “It’s too late.”