Archive for Wednesday, March 9, 2005

Father sentenced in car crash

March 9, 2005

Daddy was sick that day.

So say the surviving children of Raymond Boothe, who was sentenced Friday to 150 months -- or 12 1/2 years -- in prison for trying to injure three of his children during the same incident in which a fourth child was killed.

"My son didn't try to hurt those kids," Boothe's mother, Carol, said outside the courtroom Friday. "It was his illness. You can ask the kids, they'll tell you, 'Daddy was sick that day.'"

Boothe, who has a history of mental illness, is already serving 16 years in prison for the August 2002 death of his disabled 11-year-old son, Levi, whom he stabbed and left for dead on the Kansas Turnpike in Leavenworth County.

Last month, he pled guilty to three additional charges of aggravated battery. Those charges stemmed from his crashing his car several hours after abandoning Levi in southwest Lawrence. He apparently was trying to kill himself and his three surviving children, who were in the car.

On Friday, Douglas County District Judge Michael Malone agreed Boothe would serve his battery sentence concurrent to the sentence in Levi's death. He's already served two and a half years.

In earlier proceedings, testimony indicated that Raymond Boothe had told police he'd heard God's voice on his car radio and that God had told him to kill Levi. Boothe told Malone last month that on the night of the accident, he thought he was "driving to heaven."

The surviving children -- then ages 9, 7 and 6 -- suffered minor injuries. Two of the children now live with Carol Boothe; the third lives with Raymond Boothe's wife, Lisa Boothe. She is the mother of Levi and the other three children.

Boothe's court-appointed attorney, Mark Manna, said his client has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

"Raymond didn't do this," said Boothe's father, Eugene Boothe. "The sickness did it. His friends who saw him that day all say he was the worst they'd ever seen him."

Earlier in the week, Boothe family members sent Malone a letter, asking him not to add to Raymond Boothe's sentence.

In court, Malone praised the family for its support.

"The fact that you've remained intact is amazing," Malone said.

When asked by Malone if he had anything to say, Raymond Boothe thanked the Douglas County Sheriff's Office for allowing him to visit with two of his children this week at the Douglas County Jail -- the first such visit since the incident.

"That was my happiest day in the past two and half years," he said.

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