Christopher Caudill, above, appeared for a sentencing hearing in Laurel Circuit Court last Friday. He was giving 10 years in prison for the death of Corbin resident Willie D. Smith in 2010.
Christopher Caudill received the maximum 10-year prison sentence for killing Corbin resident Willie D. Smith in 2010, but even that wasn’t enough for Smith’s widow.
"He (Caudill) willingly did what he did," Kathy Smith said of Caudill’s decision to get behind the wheel of his pickup truck even though he was intoxicated. "He took an innocent person’s life.
He took my whole life," she said.
Caudill was formally sentenced Friday in Laurel Circuit Court after he was found guilty of manslaughter in June. At the time of his conviction, the jury recommended Caudill receive the 10 year prison sentence.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Jackie Steele said Kentucky Law requires Caudill to serve two years before he is eligible to go before the parole board. .The time he has spent in the Laurel County Detention Center while going through the legal process does count toward the service of his sentence, meaning he will be eligible for parole in October. Steele emphasized that does not mean Caudill will be paroled.
Kathy Smith said she spoke with her husband about 20 minutes before the wreck on Oct. 26, 2010, the night of the wreck. He was passing through the Bush community of Laurel County that night after visiting a friend in Manchester.
"He had stopped to pick up some medicine and said he would be home in about 20 minutes," she said. "About 10 p.m. the doorbell rang. It was the coroner to tell me that Willie had been killed."
Kathy Smith described Willie Smith as a good Christian man who had made his peace with God.
"My husband was ready to go," she said.
According to information from Laurel County Sheriff’s deputies, Smith was pronounced dead at the scene on Ky. 80 near Grubb Road after Caudill who was intoxicated, crossed the centerline in his pickup truck and hit Smith’s van head-on.
Tests on Caudill’s blood drawn about an hour after the wreck indicated his blood alcohol was .09, which is over the legal limit of .08 set down in Kentucky Law.
Caudill was charged with murder and driving under the influence and lodged in the Laurel County Detention Center on a $100,000 cash bond.
After two days of testimony and two hours of deliberation, a jury found Caudill guilty of second-degree manslaughter.