PORTSMOUTH, Va. – It only took a jury 40 minutes to find Takiara Lewis-White guilty of eight criminal counts, including felony homicide and child neglect, for a police chase and crash that killed two young girls back in September 2015.
The 21-year-old Portsmouth woman was charged with eight criminal counts after failing to stop for police: two counts of felony homicide, three counts of child abuse and neglect and one count each of reckless driving, eluding police, and driving on a suspended license.
In Virginia, the jury recommends prison time for a defendant based on the charges. In this case, the jury could have given Lewis-White 115 years in prison and 48 months in jail, but after deliberation, they recommended 38 years in prison and 12 months in jail.
Evidence shows Lewis-White refused to pull over for a Virginia State Police trooper, who testified she was doing 77 miles-per-hour in a 55 miles-per-hour zone.
The Trooper testified that he had to accelerate to 120 miles-per-hour just to catch Lewis-White, and the paced at 100 to 102 miles-per-hour during the chase.
The high speed chase ended after Lewis-White wrecked her car. Two sisters, 8-year-old Destiny Wilson and 5-year-old Shawnta Wilson were passengers in Lewis-White’s car, and were killed in the crash.
Shawnta was supposed to start Kindergarten the next day, according to testimony from her mother, Teyeka Wilson.
“There haven't been any good moments. I guess the best part out of all of it is that she got found guilty on all charges," Wilson told News 3, shortly after the trial.
Wilson says no amount of prison time will ever bring back her two girls, who she never got to say goodbye to the day they were killed.
“She deserves a lot more, but it was their decision.
"Be mindful who you trust with your children, who you let around your kids, and get your kids – love them, pay attention to them, because when that’s gone, that’s it. You’re just here," said Wilson.
"My life will never be the same."
Lewis-White briefly took the stand during the sentencing phase, and through tears, she apologized to Wilson and her family.
“It wasn’t for me. That was just for the jury. It wasn’t for me, that was a front," said Wilson, who told News 3 she has one question for Lewis-White. “Why didn’t you just pull over? Take the ticket? Even if I had to pick up my truck, or come and pick my kids up. I could have swallowed that versus what I’m dealing with.”
Lewis-White is expected to be back in court on December 13th for her formal sentencing from a judge.