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Man sentenced for leaving crash that killed his friends in 2016

Posted at 10:05 PM, Jun 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-25 22:16:59-04

CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. — Judge Donald Mason sentenced Michel Brutus to 14 years in prison for crashing the car that killed Brittany Beni, 21 and Wesley Chery, 21 and then running.

Mary Chery, Wesley’s mom said the sentence brings her family some justice in court Tuesday.

“Bittersweet because no amount of time can replace what we lost,” she said.

Deputies did not arrest Brutus for the crash until nearly a year after it happened. Until then, everyone thought Chery caused the crash. \During her testimony Chery’s mom said Brutus admitted his crime to her before his arrest.

“During Wesley’s Celebration of Life Lunch, Mr. Brutus whispered in my ear, ‘Mom, sorry, I killed Wesley,’” she said.

Things got heated when Brutus took the stand. Both moms and others walked out when he tried to place the blame on someone else.

“If we were not ran off the road, I would’ve brought Wesley home safely and I would’ve brought Brittany home safely,” said Brutus.

He said another car ran them off the road. Deputies said Brutus ran away from the crash right after it happened. leaving Chery and Beni dead in the car.

The judge said he reluctantly accepted the deal and he would’ve given Brutus more time. But he accepted it in hopes of bringing the victims’ families some peace. Beni agreed.

“Yes, we wanted more time, but this is a guarantee,” said Beni. “He needs to pay for what he did. He needs to pay in here (points to heart), in here (points to mind) and in prison.”

Beni said she and the Cherys agreed to the plea because going to trial meant risking Brutus getting sentenced to as little as two years for leaving the crash.

In addition to 14 years in prison, Brutus got sentenced to eight years supervised probation and will have to pay restitution for the victims’ funerals.