Jury finds former UNC student charged in triple-fatal crash guilty of involuntary manslaughter

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Monday, October 17, 2016
Former UNC student found guilty in triple-fatal crash
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Chandler Kania was sentenced to 12 - 16 years in prison

HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- An Orange County jury found a former UNC-Chapel Hill student accused of killing three people in a wrong-way drunk driving crash in 2015 guilty of the lesser charges of three counts involuntary manslaughter Monday.

Chandler Kania, 21, of Asheboro, had been charged with second-degree murder in connection with the July 2015 wreck that killed Darlene McGee, 46, of Charlotte, her friend Felecia Harris, 49, of Charlotte, and Harris' granddaughter Jahnice Beard, 6, of Brooklyn, New York. The crash also left Harris' daughter, Jahnia King, 9, seriously injured.

The jury did not find Kania acted with malice - necessary for the stronger charge of murder. They did find him guilty of reckless driving. He was sentenced to 12 - 16 years in prison.

The jury clearly wrestled with the issue, deliberating on Thursday and Friday before coming back with a verdict early Monday afternoon.

Kania spoke in court after being found guilty.

"Nothing can be done to erase my mistake. I cannot bring back the lives that were lost," he said.

Watch: Kania speaks in court after being found guilty

Once the verdict was handed down, daughters of the women who died took the stand to share their memories and stories.

"As cliche as it sounds, my mom was my best friend. I talked to her every single day," said Jahlecia Smith.

The lone survivor of the crash also spoke, saying she was angry and wondering how and why it all happened.

The judge reminded Kania of the high price of his actions.

"If there's any good that comes from this tragedy, maybe parents will sit down with their children and talk about drunk driving, that they will hold them close and remind them of what you have done," the judge said.

Kania's already pleaded guilty to charges of DWI, felony death by motor vehicle and felony serious injury by motor vehicle.

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