Grooms guilty of murder; Sentenced to 24-30 years
WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A jury has found Thomas Grooms guilty of second-degree murder in the death of a father and son cycling on River Road last year. He was sentenced to 24-30 years in prison, and he must serve at least 85 percent of that time before he’s eligible for parole.
The jury, selected from Onslow County because of pre-trial publicity of the case, deliberated for about an hour yesterday. They resumed this morning and returned a verdict at about 10:30 a.m.
During five days of testimony witnesses described Grooms’s behavior before the accident that killed David and Trey Doolittle as they rode their bikes on a Sunday morning. Witnesses told jurors that Grooms drank alcohol and used drugs in the night before the crash. Other cyclists and drivers said they saw him driving erratically before he hit the Doolittles.
When he took the stand yesterday, Grooms said many of the witnesses exaggerated about his driving, but he admitted to having used mephedrone, or bath salts, and drinking. He described his decision to drive home that morning as “the worst decision of my life.”
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