Release denied: The driver who killed a mother owes more time
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Common Pleas Judge Anthony M. Mariani had an important lesson for Benjamin Cope.
The 22-year-old Mt. Lebanon man, who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for a 2010 crash that killed a 36-year-old mother of three and sentenced to one to two years in jail, may have thought all he'd have to serve was the minimum time.
Judge Mariani ruled otherwise.
Mr. Cope had been smoking marijuana before he blew through a stop sign and into Lisa Styles as she pushed two of her babies in a stroller. The children were not injured. He petitioned to be paroled on the first day he would have been eligible, but Judge Mariani said no after a hearing last week.
He had to ask the young man three times "You want to get out of jail, right?" before Mr. Cope gave a direct response. But it was his answer to a probation officer last year that really angered the judge.
When Mr. Cope was asked why he left Bethany College after his freshman year, he said he planned to go to Equador to teach English. A deposition in a civil case filed by Mrs. Styles' family revealed that the school asked Mr. Cope not to return because he was found with marijuana on campus.
Benjamin Cope has not earned the privilege of getting out of jail before he has served his full sentence.
First Published December 18, 2012 12:00 am