VIRGINIA BEACH-- A Virginia Beach man who was on the run for more that three months was sentenced Monday to 8 years in prison, with 2 years suspended.
Cameron Crockett, 23, was convicted in March of involuntary manslaughter for the December 2008 crash that killed his friend Jack Korte. A Virginia Beach jury recommended a five-year prison sentence.
The 23-year-old remained free on bond, but he didn't show up for sentencing four days later. He was arrested by U.S. Marshals in Belize on June 8 and was returned to Va. Beach.
In an interview from jail, Crockett said he left the area to make a statement and knew he'd eventually be caught.
"I'm not going to surrender my freedom for a crime I didn't commit," said Crockett.
Crockett described his months on the run -- taking a bus to the Texas border, crossing into Mexico and then making his way to Guatemala. He says he worked at a hostel there for 90 days and then went to Belize because he would have had to renew his Visa. He explained he was detained and arrested as he tried to re-enter Guatemala because something flagged on a computer.
Crockett said he thinks of Korte all the time.
"He was my best friend. He was dear to me, the only friend that I had that challenged me to become better," Crockett described.
Korte's mother isn't stirred by Crockett's statements.
"Cameron needs to make better decisions. We are the victims. The victim is Jack. Cameron has had two fair trials and has been found guilty," Judy Korte said.
In a statement to WVEC.com, Commonwealth's Attorney Harvey Bryant said, “Two separate juries of 12 citizens each, impaneled by both the prosecution and the defense, found Crockett guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. They used their common sense in interpreting the evidence, and each unanimously found him guilty. Now that Crockett is back in custody in Virginia Beach, we are eager to see justice served for the Korte family. It is time for Mr. Crockett to accept responsibility for his actions.”
While he was on the run, a video was posted on YouTube featuring Cameron's brother, Collin, blaming Va. Beach police for mishandling the investigation. He claims his brother was not behind the wheel when his car crashed into a tree not long after leaving a party.
Supporters have created a Website where they allege "corruption at the highest levels of office in Va. Beach."