By Cassandra Brown, Staff Journalist
The Marshall man who shot and killed a tow truck driver last summer received a 26-year prison sentence Monday morning.
Carroll Edward “Tootie” Gregg Jr., 53, will spend 20 years behind bars. Judge Herman A. Whisenant Jr. suspended six years of Mr. Gregg’s sentence.
After three days of testimony, a jury in September found Mr. Gregg guilty of involuntary manslaughter and use of firearm to commit a felony in the death of Junior Jordan Montero Sanchez, 23, just after midnight Friday, June 6, 2014.
Mr. Sanchez and another driver had come to repossess Mr. Gregg’s pickup truck for delinquent payments on a vehicle title loan.
The jury rejected a potential murder conviction, which the prosecution sought.
Jurors recommended the maximum, 10-year sentences on both felony convictions. Judge Whisenant exercised a state code provision that allowed him to add three years on each conviction.
Defense lawyer Blair Howard called seven witnesses Monday to bolster his argument for a shorter prison term.
Retired Air Force General Charles G. Boyd and Washington Post reporter Karen DeYoung testified that Mr. Gregg helped maintain their northern Fauquier properties, earned their unequivocal trust and never displayed any hint of anger or violence.
Former Fauquier sheriff’s deputy and Fredericksburg police officer Susan Clem similarly described the defendant as a positive influence in her life. She has known him since her days as a junior high school softball pitcher, Ms. Clem said.
“I’ve dealt with a lot of bad people in my life,” she said. “And, he is not one of them. He made a mistake, yes, but he is not a bad person.”
Robin Gregg Wilds, his sister, said: “It’s not in his character to harm somebody.”
After their father’s cancer diagnosis in 2013, Mr. Gregg took great care of his parents, visiting daily, shopping and preparing meals for them, Ms. Wilds testified.
“Words cannot express my remorse,” Mr. Gregg said just before Judge Whisenant pronounced the sentence. “I have replayed the accident in my head over and over . . . .
“I never meant to try to bring harm of this magnitude to anyone. I take full responsibility,” said Mr. Gregg, who did not testify during his trial.
Earlier, Commonwealth’s Attorney James P. Fisher argued for the maximum sentence. Of testimony about Mr. Gregg’s positive influence on people, Mr. Fisher noted that the victim won’t have the same opportunities.
Mr. Sanchez hoped to become a police officer, the prosecutor said.
The victim, recently married and the father of a young stepson, worked as a security guard and had just taken a second job with a Chantilly towing company. Mr. Sanchez lost his life on his first night as “repo man.”
After his pickup’s alarm sounded, Mr. Gregg ran from his garage apartment and fired the fatal shot from a hunting rifle.
The trial included conflicting testimony and evidence about whether Mr. Gregg’s gun fired once or twice and about his position at that moment.
Mr. Sanchez died in the cab of his tow truck at 10038 Conde Road. He had pulled away from the garage and traveled down a long driveway to the state road.