PHOENIX - Arizona dump truck driver Michael Jakscht, convicted of numerous charges for the 2010 deaths of four motorcyclists, has been sentenced to a total of 26 years Friday.
Friday night friends and family gathered at the intersection where the crash happened at 27th Avenue and Carefree Highway to say a prayer.
"It is hard, " said Lorri Lizarraga. "This is where they died. Being here is hard but healing too."
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Joseph Welty has set aside the entire day for the proceedings.
Jurors returned guilty verdicts against Jakscht on 13 charges of manslaughter, aggravated assault and endangerment after an August trial.
Jakscht plowed his 12-ton truck into a group of motorcyclists stopped at a north Phoenix traffic light on March 25, 2010. Four motorcyclists died and five others were injured in the fiery accident.
Phoenix police said toxicology tests showed Jakscht had methamphetamine in his system. Jakscht's attorneys had argued that he had taken diet pills and that the brakes on his truck weren't working well.
In court Friday Jakscht compared the accident to an "act of God" similar to a hurricane.
"I may have only some scars on my hands and legs, but the scars on my mind will be there forever." said Jakscht.
Family and friends of the nine victims spoke after the court proceedings.
Ernie Lizarraga, a former Phoenix Fire Captain, was one of the motorcyclists and suffered severe brain damage from the accident.
"He'll be pretty old when he gets out," said Lizarraga, "He took four of my friends….this was a big hurdle, but I have a lot more hurdles to overcome and it's time to move on."
Lizarraga's wife Lorri was disappointed the sentence was not life, but even more disappointed that Jakscht never faced the families.
"He could've turned around in that courtroom and addressed all of us and chose not to. He's kept his back to us like he's done for two and a half years. He doesn't care," said Lorri Lizarraga.
Jakscht's attorney Robin Varcoe told Judge Welty that they advised Jakscht not to address the families and victims.
"We didn't think it was enough. We felt like he should have spent the rest of his life in Jail. He did kill four people and ruin the lives of five or six others," said Frank Rich who lost his step daughter Dayle Totanchi in the crash.
The wife and daughter of Clyde Nachand also spoke; relieved to see the court proceedings come to an end.
"We're ready to say good-bye to Mr. Jakscht. He's monopolized two and a half years of our lives," said Susan Nachand-Prestidge.
ABC15's MaryEllen Resendez was live tweeting from the courtroom:
@maryellenabc15 at 1:50 p.m.: Jakscht sentenced to 26 years for the deaths and injuries caused when he plowed his dump trunk into a a group of motorcyclist.
@maryellenabc15 at 1:37 p.m.:"I do not believe that Mr. Jakscht was stumbling drunk or stumbling impaired" said Judge Welty
@maryellenabc15 at 1:35 p.m.:Court back in session. Judge Welty now sentencing Michael Jakscht. "This is not an accident...this is a crime."
@maryellenabc15 at 11:48 a.m.: Judge Joseph Welty says he will pronounce sentencing at 1:30 this after noon. Court is now in recess.
@maryellenabc15 at 11:47 a.m.: Prosecutors and victim families want 120 years. Defense says it's not appropriate, "They are asking Mr. Jakscht to die in prison."
@maryellenabc15 at 11:42 a.m.: There are several cases where people were charged with multiple manslaughter charges and they were sentenced to 4-10yrs, said his atty.
@maryellenabc15 at 11:42 a.m.: He would love to look at the families in their face and say he is sorry, We advised him not to, said Jakscht attorney.
@maryellenabc15 at 11:41 a.m.: For anybody to say he is not remorseful don't know the real Mr. Jakschtsaid his attorney.
@maryellenabc15 at 11:38 a.m.: Jakscht asked for a mitigated
@maryellenabc15 at 11:38 a.m.: "I have scars on my hands and legs but the biggest scar is on my mind...I am sorry for this accident." said Jakscht
@maryellenabc15 at 11:36 a.m.: Jakscht now speaking. "I understand this from an intimate point of view. My own"
@maryellenabc15 at 11:35 a.m.: For every day for the rest of his life he'll remember. We will all remember what happened said Frank Kelley.
@maryellenabc15 at 11:34 a.m.: Frank Kelley now speaking for Jakscht. "Things happen. It was an accident. It's not like Jakscht thought about it in bed."
@maryellenabc15 at 11:32 a.m.: Devin Lukaszewski now speaking for Michael Jakscht. "Life changing events happen to people every day. We can't foresee them."
@maryellenabc15 at 11:30 a.m.: I see a good man. He is not a monster. Please show him mercy. Said Juror #3
@maryellenabc15 at 11:29 a.m.:A juror is speaking in defense of Michael Jakcsht. Juror #3. "I see a person who cares about people...he tried to help"
@maryellenabc15 at 11:07 a.m.:Court is recessing ...defense will bring up their witnesses to argue for a lighter sentence next.
@maryellenabc15 at 11:05 a.m .: Judge Joseph Welty
concerned that Jakscht's mental state be considered in consequences.
@maryellenabc15 at 11:02 a.m.: Judge Joseph Welty questioning prosecutors "You are asking me 2 sentence someone to 120 years for reckless conduct. How do u justify that?"
@maryellenabc15 at 10:45 a.m.: We have four people who died, 3 of them burned to death. We saw pictures with the blankets and we know what was under them said Harder.
@maryellenabc15 at 10:42 a.m.: Prosecutor Aaron Harder now speaking. "He chose to get impaired by methamphetamine, and his choice affected the whole community."
@maryellenabc15 at 10:35 a.m.: The tears are now falling in court. It's impossible not to feel the pain.
@maryellenabc15 at 10:31 a.m.: Prosecutors now showing pictures of the victim's and the lives they lost. Jakscht is watching on a computer monitor, we can't see his face.
@maryellenabc15 at 10:28 a.m.: Dayle Downs-Totonchi's mother called up organ recipients saved with Dayle's organ donation. 7 people were given life after Dayle's death.
@maryellenabc15 at 10:23 a.m.: 10 motorcycles were stopped @ a traffic light when Michael Jakscht plowed into them with a 12 ton truck on March 25, 2010.
@maryellenabc15 at 10:19 a.m .: Dayle Veronica Downs-Totonchi's mother now speaking. She started by recognizing that Michael Jakscht's family and friends are also hurting.
@maryellenabc15 at 10:13 a.m.: Dayle,Clyde, Stephen and Daniel will never see the light of day and neither should Michael Jakscht, said Dayle's husband.
@maryellenabc15 at 10:08 a.m.: Dayle Veronica Downs-Totonchi's husband said This was no accident. Jakscht didn't accidently take meth and get behind a wheel of a truck.
@maryellenabc15 at 10:03 a.m.: "What if I had been there..haunts me" said Dayle Veronica Down- Totanchi's husband.
@maryellenabc15 at 9:49 a.m.: Judge calls recess after a Dayle Veronica Down-Totanchi'shusband breaks down..unable to speak. Veronica was one of the four killed in March 2010.
@maryellenabc15 at 9:40 a.m.:The court is filled with tears. Jakscht is stoic.
@maryellenabc15 at 9:39 a.m.: Lizarraga'sfather speaking of Ernie Lizarraga'saccomplishments. "What have you done Michael Jakscht? Other than make meth and get high."
@maryellenabc15 at 9:35 a.m.: "He has never apologized. If I were to sentence him it would be to live a life with a brain injury, it's far worse." said Lorri Lizarraga, Ernie's wife.
@maryellenabc15 at 9:33 a.m.: "I spent 24 years saving people and I will never be able to do that", said Ernie Lizarragaas he asked the judge to give Jakscht the maximum.
@maryellenabc15 at 9:31 a.m.: Former PHX Fire Cpt. Ernie Lizarragarecalled March 2010. Ernie suffered brain damage."He was the judge, jury & executioner for us that day."
@maryellenabc15 at 9:24 a.m.:"This was no accident ...accidents can't be prevented and Michael Jakscht could have prevented this." said Susan Nachand-Prestidge
@maryellenabc15 at 9:22 a.m.: "After my Dad was killed I found out I was pregnant. It is the first moment I couldn't share with my Dad." said Susan Nachand-Prestidge.
@maryellenabc15 at 9:19 a.m.: Clyde Nachand's daughter Susan now speaking. You can feel the pain in her voice. "We had to get dental records to identify my Dad's body"
@maryellenabc15 at 9:15 a.m.: Clyde Nachand's wife is showing a slide show of Nachand & family including pictures of his funeral. "He could've lived 30 more years." said Sandra Nachand
@maryellenabc15 at 9:08 a.m.: Families are asking for the maximum sentence. "This man should never see the light of day again" said a friend of the group.
@maryellenabc15 at 9:04 a.m.:Toxicology tests showed Jakscht was high on meth when he plowed into the motorcyclists.
@maryellenabc15 at 9:03 a.m.: An emotional time for the family and friends of those killed and injured. They will get to address Jakscht before he is sentenced.
@maryellenabc15 at 8:56 a.m.: Michel Jakscht sentencing underway. In 2010 Jakscht plowed a dump truck into a group of motor cyclist killing four.