Jerry Wayne Damron not only man haunted by death of Damron's son
A convicted killer already sentenced to life in prison without parole said adding another two years or so won’t make any difference.
Jerry Wayne Damron, 46, accepted a plea deal Tuesday related to the 2008 wreck that killed his 9-year-old son, Hauston,
“You give me what you think I should have, but it won’t be enough,” Damron said in court. “I have to live with this the rest of my life.”
Eddie Greene, 50, of Caldwell County thinks he also will live with the memory the rest of his life. Greene was driving behind Damron that day on rain-slickened Morris Creek Road, frantically trying to dial 911 as he followed the wildly serving van for about a mile. When van went off the road and slid sideways into a tree, Greene stopped to try to help.
He said two boys had been thrown from the van by the impact, including the one who was killed. Greene said he picked up the other boy and put him in his car. The boy started crying, saying, "My daddy's dead." Greene said he told the boy, "Little man, don't you talk like that."
Going back to the van, Greene put a jacket over Damron's wife because her blouse was torn in the wreck. He also heard Damron groaning, so he told the boy in his car, "Your daddy's going to be fine."
Greene said that even though Damron already is serving life without parole, he felt justice was not served by the plea agreement.
“I think he deserved more time because he killed his own kid, and was under drugs when he (did),” Greene said in an interview after the hearing. “But he’s already serving life without parole, so I don’t guess it much helps.”
Damron pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and reckless driving to endanger, reduced from charges of felony death by vehicle, driving while impaired and reckless driving. All but one alternate juror had been picked before the plea deal came before Judge Robert Ervin of Caldwell Superior Court.
Assistant District Attorney David Swanson said the deal was acceptable because it might have been difficult to prove Damron was impaired at the time of the wreck.
“The weakness in our case was the State Bureau of Investigation could not show a measured quantity of Zanax and Oxycodone (in his system),” Swanson told Ervin in court.
The wreck occurred between 1:30 and 2 p.m. on Sept. 26, 2008. Hauston was one of six children in the van.
The five surviving children, all under 8 years of age at the time, were placed in foster care.
Damron’s wife, Lisa, then 30, was charged with aiding and abetting driving while impaired, six counts of child abuse and numerous drug charges.
Ten months later, on July 9, 2009, Damron and his wife, who was driving were stopped on Interstate 77 in Wythe County, Va., for speeding. Damron was also arrested after refusing to stay in the van as police interviewed Lisa Damron. Lisa Damron was charged with driving under the influence.
Inside the van investigators found a dead body wrapped in a bloody blanket. An autopsy revealed that Kelly Lynette Culley, 42, of Taylorsville had been shot six times with a .22-caliber handgun.
On Feb. 16, 2011, Damron pleaded guilty in Alexander Superior Court to first-degree murder. Lisa Damron pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to between 12 years and 24 years in prison.