SHEPHERDSVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Bullitt County man will spend seven years in prison for a hit-and-run crash that left a 19-year-old dead.

In court Tuesday morning, Bradley Cannon pleaded guilty to reckless homicide, tampering with physical evidence and leaving the scene of a crash. On March 4, 2017, then-38-year-old Cannon hit and killed Robert Pace, who was walking across Preston Highway in Hillview. Cannon then drove away. His vehicle was found a short distance away, abandoned.

He turned himself in to Hillview Police the following day at a location in Shepherdsville.

In court, Cannon read a statement. He said, "I would give anything to change what happened that night. I am truly sorry
for the pain I caused the Pace family, my family and the court. I accept responsibility and can only hope that someday you all can forgive and in your heart to forgive me."

Cannon was originally charged with murder, but prosecutors faced two significant challenges in this case. The only witness to the crash died from a brain tumor two months ago. Then the lead investigator on the case -- Hillview Detective John Nissen -- was indicted on unrelated charges and can no longer testify in court.

These obstacles led prosecutors to offer a plea deal for a lesser charge and a shorter prison sentence.

"It does bring closure," said Cynthia Harrod, Pace's grandmother, after the sentencing Tuesday morning. "At least we know he's not going to be on the streets to hurt no one else."

"I believe that seven years to serve in prison is a wonderful result given the evidentiary problems that we had to overcome in this case," Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Alex Gaddis added.

The judge sentenced Cannon to five years in prison for reckless homicide and two years for the other charges. He will serve his sentences consecutively in state prison, for a total of seven years.

"That was my baby," said Melissa Kaufman, Pace's mother, days after his death. "He took my baby away. You can't do that and just run away from it. I don't understand how you can take my baby away like that and just not care."

She said her son was a huge fan of basketball and was walking to his girlfriend's house with his best friend when he was killed.

"He had a great life ahead of him. He had so many things he wanted to do, and dreams. It's all gone now," Kaufman said.

At the time, Cannon had an active warrant out of Jefferson County for possession of meth.

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