ATLANTA - A judge sentenced a heroin addict to 30 years in prison for hitting three children while driving under the influence.
Ryan Lisabeth, 29, entered a guilty plea to homicide by vehicle and several other charges before Fulton County Judge Henry Newkirk on Thursday.
Prosecutors said Lisabeth could not sleep and had just left a Sober Living House when he headed to northwest Atlanta to buy some more heroin. Prosecutors said 14 minutes after that illegal drug sale, Lisabeth was shooting up while driving and hit the three children and three cars on Joseph E. Boone Boulevard back in April of 2016.
Isaiah Ward, 8, who had just been awarded student of the month, was killed. Ward’s older brother, Roland and 12-year-old friend Timothy Hood were critically injured. Family members said even though the children survived, they have physical and mental limitations, and will never be the same.
The state asked for 49 years in prison for the convicted felon who had been in and out of jail on drug related charges for years. The defense called a medical doctor to the stand who told the court Lisabeth was an addict and had received heroin laced with Fentanyl the day he hit the children.
The defense begged for leniency and asked for a 15-year prison sentence. Lisabeth’s attorney told the court that drug addiction is an illness, not a moral failing. Lisabeth’s mother, Debbie cried as she read a statement saying her son had a good heart and had been struggling with drug addiction since he was 16 years old.
“I mourn for the loss of Isiah and I’ve prayed for the recovery of both Timothy and Roland, not just for their physical recovery, but there emotional recovery as well,” a tearful Debbie Lisabeth pleaded.
All the families involved were in tears during the emotional sentencing.
Judge Henry Newkirk sentenced Lisabeth to 30 years in prison and told the 29-year-old his attorneys had done a good job on what appeared to be an indefensible case.
Since Lisabeth is a convicted felon, he will serve every day of the 30 year sentence.
The Ward and Hood families left the courthouse mostly satisfied that the addict will be behind bars for many years and won’t be able to harm anyone else.