PROBATION VIOLATION RESULTS IN 10 YEARS OF
CONFINEMENT FOR BUCHANAN COUNTY MAN
On March 11th, 2015, Doyle Mullins, 44, of Vansant, Virginia pled guilty to violating his probation and was ordered to spend the next 5 years in a Virginia prison, and immediately after his release, to spend his first 5 years of probation confined to his home subject to home electronic monitoring.
In 2011, Mullins was convicted by the Buchanan County Circuit Court of distributing drugs, and was sentenced to just over one year in prison, with the remainder of his 15 year sentence suspended on his completion of supervised probation. In 2013, less than 2 years into his 5 years of probation, Mullins was driving a motor vehicle in Dickenson County, while intoxicated, causing him to lose control of the car and crash, paralyzing himself and killing two passengers as a result. According to Dickenson County officials, Mullins was under the influence of intoxicants at the time of the accident but due to some issues with the blood test results, Mullins received an entirely suspended sentence in Dickenson County regarding his Involuntary Manslaughter conviction. As a result of this conviction, Buchanan County officials filed a probation violation charge against Mullins.
During the probation violation hearing, Patricia Keen gave emotional and heartbreaking testimony about the death of her daughter, who was only 19 years old at the time of her death. Mrs. Keen told the Court that her daughter had been attending college and about the promising future that she had ahead of her before this tragic incident.
During the hearing, Mullins introduced a number of medical records which showed that he had been paralyzed as a result of the car accident. His attorneys acknowledged that the incident was tragic, but contended that this incident was exactly that, “an accident” and argued that Mullins is now confined to a wheelchair for the remainder of his life as a result. They also noted the enormous medical bills that he now faced.
In response, Commonwealth’s Attorney Gerald Arrington told the Court that “Mullins’ consumption of alcohol wasn’t ‘an accident,’ it was an intentional choice, Mullins’ choice to drive while impaired wasn’t ‘an accident’ it was intentional, and it was an intentional choice by Mullins to violate his terms of probation.” Arrington further argued to the Court “that the Commonwealth could not imagine a more egregious violation of his probation” and that Mullins was deserving of the entire sentence that the Court had previously suspended in his underlying drug distribution cases. Finally, the prosecution argued that despite Mullins being in a wheelchair, he was still alive and was able to hug his parents.
At the conclusion of evidence, Circuit Court Judge Patrick Johnson asked Mullins if he wished to make a statement. Mullins told the Court that he didn’t “know what to say”, that it was an accident, and that he was suffering every day in pain and now lived in a wheelchair.
Ultimately, the Judge agreed with the Commonwealth, stating that it was an “egregious act” and that “lives were lost” due to Mullins’ conduct. The Court ultimately sentenced Mullins to 13 years and 11 months in a Virginia Prison with 8 years and 11 months of that sentence being re-suspended on the condition the Defendant successfully complete 9 years of active supervised probation. The Court further ordered that after Mullins serves his 5 year prison sentence in the Department of Corrections, that he be confined to home electronic monitoring for the first 5 years of his probationary period.
When asked to comment, Arrington stated that “Ms. Keen’s parents have been living every parent’s worst nightmare. They were concerned that Mr. Mullins might never receive the punishment that he deserved after escaping a prison sentence in the underlying case in Dickenson County. Fortunately, Judge Johnson agreed that a substantial sentence was warranted in this case.” Arrington further stated that “we were able to see that justice was done, and hopefully it will bring closure to the Keen family.”