Mother Tells Man Who Killed Her Son: 'I Forgive You'

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Mother Tells Man Who Killed Her Son: 'I Forgive You'

CREATED Jun 6, 2014
by Aundrea Cline-Thomas

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Charles Towns, 51, will spend nearly three years in prison and four years on probation after admitting to leaving the scene of a fatal accident, driving with a revoked license and tampering with evidence. A judge delivered the sentence late Friday afternoon.

On November 8, 2012, Towns struck and killed Calvin Thomas, 25, as he attempted to walk across Old Hickory Boulevard at Woodlands Avenue in south Nashville.

A witness testified that she saw Towns run a red light to get away after the crash. His white pick-up truck was found parked at a West Nashville apartment complex days later with a tarp covering the front end.

During the sentencing, Towns said he didn’t know that he hit someone until seeing the story on the news. He said he panicked and fled because he was driving without a license.

“I did not mean to do this,” Towns said tearfully to Thomas’ family during the sentencing hearing. “And I’m sorry, with all my heart (to) every one of you, your family members and your friends.”

For the first time, Thomas’ family was able to address Towns about the impact Calvin’s death has had on their lives. Thomas’ widow Bryanna Jackson said she lost her best friend and confidant and asked the judge for justice.

Next was Tonya Thomas who explained how losing her only son has caused her the “most horrific pain.” Tonya Thomas addressed Towns directly.

“I made many sacrifices and protected him from anything possible. I protected him as a child-- if he was too cold I gave him a blanket and a cover,” she said. "I wanted his health to be so protected and fed him proper meals and gave him vitamins. What I didn’t see was you --coming to protect him from you.”

Tonya Thomas showed Towns pictures of Calvin and highlighted many of his proud milestones. She even used Town’s lengthy criminal history, riddled with DUI’s, to show what Calvin was doing at the same time in his life.

“In 1991 Mr. Towns had another DUI. In 1993 he also had a driving with a revoked license,” she said. “In both 91 and 93 Calvin was in preschool. Calvin was told even then by his preschool teachers he was a fast learner…”

Towns’ run-ins with the law began in the 1980s. Despite six arrests, he has had three DUI convictions along with other misdemeanor traffic infractions.

Towns told the judge he hasn’t spent more than two weeks in jail for the DUI’s.

“I do forgive you and I hope you get the help that you need because I understand it to be an illness,” Tonya Thomas told Towns. “The courts failed you and the courts have failed me.”

While alcohol was not a consideration in Thomas’ death, the multiple DUI arrests and Town’s admitted struggle with sobriety were factors considered during sentencing. Despite the guilty plea, the judge explained Charles Towns’ current charges and prior convictions are considered minor legally. The judge fully acknowledged the victim’s family’s pain and considered it in sentencing.

In addition to jail time Towns will have to pay restitution. During his probation he will wear an ankle monitor and participate in Mothers Against Drunk Driving panel discussions. For the next couple of years on the anniversary of the accident, Towns will have to report to jail.

“Some may say well at least you got something. Compare that to someone who might have lost something tangible. I lost a life. My son's life,” Tonya Thomas told reporters after the sentence was handed down. “I don’t consider this to be justice by a long shot.”

Towns assured Thomas’ family that he couldn’t make up for Calvin’s death, but he would do whatever he could.

“I pray that I could take this back but I can’t,” he said. “I don’t take it lightly.”

Email: acline-thomas@newschannel5.com
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