Family says they are forever changed after five-year-old was kil - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Family says they are forever changed after five-year-old was killed by man high on drugs

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- "Our children no longer take walks. Our daughter is afraid of cars."

They are words born of tragedy. The family of a five-year-old killed by a man high on drugs wrote down their feelings for the court. It's all outlined in the victim impact statement.

The victim's young sister can describe the accident in graphic detail, because the family saw the whole thing.

"Our family has not taken a walk together since April 17, 2014," the statement reads. "Everything we do is minus one child. Holidays include visits to the cemetery to decorate Benjamin's vase."

The statement was written so that the family could express their suffering before the man who killed the 5-year-old -- Edward Pearce -- was sentenced.

Pearce has pleaded guilty.

"It was a total sentence of 18 years," said Prosecutor Elizabeth Jones Brown. "It carries a parole eligibility of 85 percent, so he won't see the parole board for 15-plus years."

In a plea deal, Pearce pleaded guilty to manslaughter, wanton endangerment, failing to stop and call 911 and drug charges. In April of last year, police say Pearce was high on drugs when his car crossed a curb and sidewalk killing Benjamin Clem in Pleasure Ridge Park. The boy was riding his scooter while his family walked behind him.

The Prosecutor says the family had been consulted about the benefits of a plea deal.

"In this case, we had received word there would be witnesses that would testify the defendant was placed in the car by other people while he was heavily intoxicated on heroin, and we didn't know how that would affect the jury on his wanton conduct," Brown said.

The judge confronted Pearce about his past during his sentencing.

"You were arrested as you drove to your residence and you were in possession of a syringe full of heroin," the judge said. "This is your second DUI offense. Are those facts accurate?"

"Yes, ma'am."

Clem's family writes that their son had a smile that could always get him out of trouble.  They say the day he was killed, there was an Easter egg hunt. When girls cried because they didn't have enough eggs, he gave them his saying, "I don't need them." His family says, "How right Benjamin was, eight hours later he was gone. Those eggs weren't needed in heaven."

The family goes on to say, "We miss our sweet boy so much more than words can say. We know he is up in heaven wearing camo and digging holes."

"I believe it was a good plea," Brown said. "Obviously most of the time, we'd rather see a murder conviction for somebody taking a life for such an innocent person."

The judge says Pearce is also not eligible for probation.

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