TAMPA, Fla. — Cameron Herrin, the then 18-year-old man who was behind the wheel of a Ford Mustang that hit and killed a mother and her baby on Bayshore Boulevard in 2018, was sentenced to 24 years in prison Thursday evening.
Herrin and another man, John Barrineau, are accused of racing at the time of the deadly crash. Barrineau also pleaded guilty. He's serving a six-year prison sentence.
“This crime took two beautiful lives and left four families broken,” said State Attorney Andrew Warren. “No sentence can repair that damage or bring back the lives lost, but we hope this outcome delivers some comfort and closure for Jessica’s and Lillia’s families.”
The judge sentenced Herrin as an adult, not a youthful offender, which he says he considered.
Watch sentencing for Herrin below:
On Thursday, Herrin, his family and friends spent the first half of the morning painting him as caring and forgivable with no intent to hurt anyone. They called what happened that day in May a tragic accident.
“It has been devastating for him and our family," said Kim Salter, Herrin's Aunt.
“The impact plays over and over in his head. It’ll never go away," said Cheryl Herrin, Cameron's mother.
His defense team, John Fitzgibbons, says Herrin made a mistake and didn’t fully understand the consequences that could occur while speeding.
Dr. Michael Scott Maher also testified that scientifically the brain of an 18-year-old isn’t fully developed and wired the same way the brain of a person in their 20s is.
“How could he do something so stupid? He’s a bright kid," said Dr. Maher, a Forensic Psychiatrist who met with Herrin professionally 30-40 times. "It is because the stop and think part of the brain, the frontal lobe where we stop and think about our actions is not developed.”
Herrin’s family also talked about selling their house and fighting their insurance company to get money to pay the Reisinger-Raubenolt family.
Herrin pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide (second-degree felony) and unlawful racing (first-degree misdemeanor) in December. Investigators say Herrin was driving more than 100mph when he hit 24-year-old Jessica Reisinger-Raubenolt and 21-month-old Lillia Raubenolt.
“We have a perspective on this. I don’t want to seem that I don’t feel for the Herrin family, I do," said Pamela Reisinger, Jessica's mother. "But their perspective on what they’ve lost can’t compare to two sweet souls that were crossing the street coming home from a park.”
Assistant State Attorney Aaron Hubbard, the state prosecutor, also pulled up a log from Herrin’s Mustang that details how fast it was going just days before the crash — 162 mph on I-75. They say on the day of the crash, while he was racing, he hit a speed of 101 mph.
“This was a crash, not an accident. please be aware of that," said David Raubenolt, Jessica's husband and Lilia's father.
Raubenolt emotional testimony went on for 45 minutes with him addressing Cameron directly several times.
“It is critical for you to understand, that you’ve created everlasting pain and depths of sorrow," he said.
He described his wife, her character and personality and he discussed how it feels to walk into his daughter's bedroom.
“I can’t get the thought of the entitled monster who killed them. Something happens to me in this room," he said.
He says talking about the day of the crash is incredibly hard. He recalls being stuck in the traffic on Bayshore Blvd. and turning down a side street to avoid it. He says he knew something was wrong, walking into Jessica’s Uncles house to grab their luggage and not seeing them there. He says after going to the scene, and being told his wife and daughter were at Tampa General Hospital, a stranger drove him to the hospital.
“I remember seeing a chaplain walk out and I knew she was dead," Raubenolt said. "I can’t explain to you the effort and courage it takes to walk into that morgue and see the injuries you created on her body.”
In the end, Raubenolt begged the judge to give Herrin a maximum sentence of 30 years.
Barrineau will also be on probation for 15 years and will have to complete 200 hours of community service, half of which will be spent speaking about the dangers of reckless driving.
Reporter Ryan Smith is live-tweeting from the courtroom: