[UPDATE] Homminga Sentenced for DUI Manslaughter

By: Eyewitness News, Julie Montanaro Email
By: Eyewitness News, Julie Montanaro Email

UPDATED 6:30pm by Julie Montanaro

A Tallahassee man is headed to prison for a drunk driving crash that killed a 5 year old boy.

Roger Homminga was sentenced to eight years behind bars.

The boy's mother was so outraged she yelled "That's crazy" and had to be escorted from the courtroom by her family.

"He started gasping for air and I just knew that my baby was going to make it and he didn't. He died in my hands."

Candace Butler sobbed as she told the judge what happened the night a drunk driver rear ended her car on North Monroe Street and killed her 5 year old son Cammeren Jones.

"Next Friday would have been my baby's 7th birthday and instead of me planning his party, I've been trying to plan what I was going to tell you today," Butler said.

Roger Homminga plead guilty Friday morning to DUI manslaughter and faced up to 17 years in prison for the January 2011 crash.

Prosecutors said he was speeding, texting and drinking that night with a blood alcohol level more than twice the legal limit.

"There's no excuses. I have none," Homminga said.

Homminga spoke softly and cleared his throat repeatedly as he apologized to the boy's mother.

"Not a day goes by that I don't wish I could bring that youngin' back," he said as he dropped his head in his hands.

Judge Dodson sentenced Homminga to 8 years in prison and 7 on probation.

That's when Cammeren Jones' mother broke down and said "Is that it?"

Her family had to help her out of the courtroom.

"It just made it hard for me to bear. They gave him eight years which was sort of like a slap in the face," James Butler said.

"Eight is not enough," Catherine Butler said.

"I think he should have got the maximum, you know, if you do the crime, you should do the time," James Butler said.

Neither the prosecutor nor Homminga's attorney would comment on the sentence.

The judge granted a downward departure with the eight year prison sentence. Dodson agreed with Homminga's attorney, who argued it was an isolated incident for which Homminga showed great remorse.

Defense attorney Fred Conrad argued that Homminga had no prior history of drunk driving and was proud of his commercial driver's license.

Conrad said Homminga had no intention of driving that night, but was awakened from his sleep and asked to drive a woman home.

Homminga will have his driver's license revoked for life as part of his sentence.
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UPDATED 5:45pm by Julie Montanaro

A representative from Mothers Against Drunk Driving was in court today too.

MADD's victim services manager Kristen Allen sent this statement:

"Drunk driving is not just a mistake. It is a serious and violent crime and people need to be held accountable for their actions. Mr. Homminga got sentenced to 8 years in prison however the Butler family got sentenced to life. The Butler family suffered a huge loss with the death of five year old Cammeren and MADD will continue to support this family."

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UPDATED 1:30pm by Julie Montanaro

As soon as court was adjourned, Cammeron Jones' mother said, "Is that it? That's crazy."

Family members had to escort her from the courtroom.

The child's grandparents called the sentence "a slap in the face" and a cousin fought back tears as she called the sentence "unfair."

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Updated 11am by Julie Montanaro

The judge sentenced Roger Homminga to 8 years in prison and 7 years probation.
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Updated 10:45am by Julie Montanaro

The prosecutor says Roger Homminga had a blood alcohol level more than twice the legal limit the night of the deadly crash.

Dave Marsey says Homminga was texting and using his GPS at the time of the crash too. He says Homminga never took any evasive action and the force of the crash propelled Jones's car nearly 90 yards from the point of impact.

The state is asking for a 12 year prison sentence, three years probation and lifetime revocation of his license.

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Updated 10:40am by Julie Montanaro

Roger Homminga took the stand and cleared his throat repeatedly before telling the court, "No excuses. I have none."

"I'm sorry I've destroyed two families' lives. I cut Cammeron Jones' life short due to my irresponsibility. Not a day goes by that I don't wish I could bring that youngin' back," he said.

He cried and held his head in his hands as he apologized to the child's mother.

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Updated 3.10.2012 10:15am by Julie Montanaro

A psychiatrist testified that Roger Homminga is "devastated" by the crash and told him "I wish it were me."

Dr. Greg Prichard says Hommminga was being treated for depression at the time.

He says Homminga has no history of DUI. He says Homminga told him he typically drinks two rum and cokes each night after work unless he is on call at work. Prichard says he did diagnose Homminga as abusing alcohol.

The prosecutor pointed out that Homminga's blood alcohol level was .181 which is more than twice the legal limit.

One of Cammeron Jones family members' shouted her disagreement during the doctor's testimony. Some others abruptly left the courtroom.

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Updated 9:45am by Julie Montanaro

Candace Butler sobbed on the stand as she described her only son dying in her arms.

"It took everything away. I lost my son, my car, my job ... Everything that day. It just don't feel real. Why didn't the Lord take me instead?"

She told the judge Cammeron would have celebrated his 7th birthday next week.

The boy's grandfather asked for the maximum penalty. "It wasn't God's fault. We have to put this in the hands of the man who was drunk driving."

The child's uncle said "We feel like we've been robbed. This wasn't just a DUI, this was a robbery and murder."

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March 10, 2012 by Julie Montanaro

Roger Homminga has pleaded guilty to DUI manslaughter in the death of 5 year old Cammeron Jones.

Homminga faces up to 17 years in prison for it.

Family, friends and a representative from MADD are all expected to testify this morning before he is sentenced.

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Dozens gathered inside a church on North Monroe Street Saturday to remember the life of a 5-year-old boy police say was killed by a drunk driver.

"I loved him so much and it's been a tough year. I still miss him. But I try to go on," says Catherine Butler, Cammeren's grandmother.

And going on has been tough for the Butler family who lost five year-old Cammeren Jones a year ago Saturday. Jones was killed when police say a drunk driver rammed into the back of the car he was in.

"I didn't know how I would get through this day by myself. So I needed the support of my family," says Candance Butler, Cammeren's mother.
That support came from the dozens who gathered by candle light at the Greater Saint Mark's Baptist Church to remember the life they all love and miss.

"And it seems like the angel smiles to me. He had a beautiful smile. He was special," says his grandmother.

Others like Amy Ray see the anniversary of Cammeren's death as a consistent reminder of the dangers of drunk driving and the heartache it can cause.

"He was a light and we home and pray this is something everyone realizes is so important, not to drink and drive so that you won't be the one, don't you be the one, that takes away a precious life," says Amy Ray a family friend.

Tallahassee Police charged Roger Homminga with DUI manslaughter in connection with the accident. He returns to court February 14.

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Updated 7:15pm 2-5 by Jennifer Milton

St. Marks Primitive Baptist Church was nearly over flowing with people who loved 5-year-old Cammeren Jones. Relatives and friends sang praises and said goodbye to the little boy whose life was cut short on January 28th.

"He loved playing in the block center, trucks, he loved coloring. I was his art teacher and science teacher and he was such a joy in my class. I loved the beautiful smile, I'm going to miss the beautiful smile, I'm going to miss Cammeren," said Alisha Crawford.

Tallahassee Police say 44-year-old Roger Homminga was to blame for the accident on that fatal night. Authorities say Homminga was driving under the influence of alcohol when he failed to stop at a traffic light, causing him to crash into the back of the vehicle Jones' mom was driving as she was waiting at the red light... her son was in the back seat.

"It's just plain sad that a 5 year old died," said a classmate of Jones' sister.

Now, because of one man's poor decision to get behind the wheel after he allegedly had to much to drink, those who loved "Camm" will never see him grow up and a middle aged man could spend the remainder of his life behind bars.

Tallahassee Police say Jones' mom and sister were injured in the crash, which happened on North Monroe Street near the westbound I-10 exit ramp.

According to the Leon County Jail's Web site, Homminga was released from jail on February 1st.
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[UPDATE] 2-1 Noon --

Funeral plans are set for a 5-year-old Tallahassee boy who police say was killed by a drunk driver.

Tallahassee Police say 44-year-old Roger Homminga failed to stop at a traffic signal on North Monroe Street Friday night, smashing into the back of the car that 5-year-old Cammeren Jones was riding in.
Cammeren died at the hospital.

Grief counselors were on hand yesterday at FamU DRS, where Cammeren was a kindergartner.

The little boy's funeral will be Saturday at 1 p.m. at The Greater St. Marks Primitive Baptist Church.

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Updated 6:42pm by Jennifer Milton:

Bonita Williams is still processing the news that one of her kindergarten students will never return to her classroom.

School supplies, recent homework assignments and an empty cubby are all that remain of 5-year-old Cammeren Jones in room 323, a boy she says loved to read books and was a an exceptional student.

"He was a very happy, intelligent, very, very bright and inquisitive little boy. He always had a big smile on his face and he had a very kind heart."

Tallahassee Police say 44-year-old Roger Homminga was driving under the influence of alcohol Friday, and he failed to stop at a traffic light on North Monroe Street, causing him to plow his truck into the back of Candice Butler's Vehicle as she was stopped at the red light. Jones was sitting in the backseat and died from his injuries.

Grief counselors consoled students at FAMU DRS Monday morning to help Jones' classmates cope with the death of their friend. Students drew pictures telling Jones that they loved him and will miss him.

"They talked about him not being here. But, they understood, they understand, the best that a 5 or 6 year old child can understand that you know, in life, there's a beginning, and there is an end and there is life in the middle."
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Tallahassee Police Department Media Release:

Last night (1/28) at approximately 7:06PM, the Tallahassee Police Department responded to a two-vehicle traffic crash on North Monroe Street at I-10.

A 1997 black Ford F350 driven by a 44-year-old, Roger Homminga and a 2005 White Nissan driven by 29-year-old, Candice Butler with two children in the back seat were involved.

Both vehicles were traveling north on Monroe Street at the westbound I-10 exit ramp onto Monroe Street. Ms. Butler was stopped at the traffic signal on Monroe Street, when Mr. Homminga failed to stop, ramming the rear of Ms. Butler’s vehicle.

Ms. Butler and both children were injured in the crash and transported to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, where 5-year-old Cammeren Jones succumbed to his injuries.

Homminga was also transported to the hospital. He was treated for minor injuries and released. Upon release, Homminga was arrested for the crash and transported to the Leon County Jail.

Homminga is charged with DUI Manslaughter, 2 counts of DUI with injuries and 3 counts of DUI with Property Damage.

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Tallahassee, FL - Tallahassee Police Department has told WCTV that the The traffic crash on North Monroe and I-10, involved two vehicles with one fatality.

The severity of the others injured is unknown at this time. but WCTV will keep updating as more information becomes available.

North Monroe Street will be closed for the next two to three hours.

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Tallahassee, FL-
Authorities are on the scene of a vehicle crash near I-10 and North Monroe Street in Tallahassee.

The Tallahassee Police Department is reporting injuries from the crash.
Northbound traffic on Monroe Street is blocked at this time as well as the westbound Monroe exit.

We have a crew on scene and will bring you more information as soon as it becomes available.


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