Local Man Gets Clemency

A Bay county man, sentenced to 14-years for his daughter's death, will be getting out of prison early. Thursday the Governor and the State Clemency Board granted 52-year-old Jeffrey Sakemiller's petition for early release.

In June 1998, Sakemiller was driving home, after buying his 6-year-old daughter, Catriana a plastic swimming pool. Sakemiller had put the pool in the bed of his pick-up.

Like any 6-year-old, Catriana was excited and wanted to sit in the pool on the ride home. On Magnolia Beach Road, the wind caught the pool, tossing it and Catriana onto the pavement. Another vehicle hit and killed the child. Troopers discovered Sakemiller had been drinking, so he was arrested and charged.

In 1999, a jury convicted Sakemiller of vehicular homicide, D-U-I, driving with a
suspended license, and culpable negligence. Judge Dedee Costello sentenced him to 14-years, saying she took into account his 4-previous D-U-I convictions.

Sakemiller appealed the sentence in 2001 and 2005 and lost both times. But after 9-years, the Clemency Board apparently felt he's done enough time.

He's currently serving his sentence in a minimum security facility in Quincy. No word as to exactly when he will be released.

Catriana's cousin and aunt tried several times to get the legislature to pass a law making it illegal for kids to ride in the back of pick-up trucks in Florida. But the bills never passed.

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