NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. — A judge sentenced the man convicted of killing a young Nassau County couple and their unborn baby in a DUI crash back in 2018.
Shawn Lee Blitchington was sentenced to 60 years in prison for the death of Ryan Kennedy and Bailey McKnight.
Family and friends of the couple left the courtroom in Nassau County with a sigh of relief on Monday.
“He definitely deserved what he was given,” Bailey’s mother, Misty McKnight, said.
Blitchington was driving the wrong way with no headlights on and hit the couple head-on while driving on U.S. 301 in Bryceville.
Inside the courtroom, he approached the stand to read a letter he wrote apologizing for the pain and suffering he caused both families.
But Judge James Daniel said Blitchington had multiple chances to turn his life around to go to rehab or get help from family and friends, but he decided not to and that led to the death of McKnight, Kennedy, and their unborn baby.
“He didn’t even stick around to help, he ran,” Misty McKnight said.
Before the deadly crash, Blitchington had been charged with five prior DUI convictions.
Ryan Kennedy’s father was too overcome with grief to speak, instead he wrote a letter to the courtroom.
“Three years has taken a long hard toll on him emotionally,” Ryan’s mother, Suzy Kennedy, said.
Family told Action News Jax that Bailey McKnight was eight months pregnant with the couple’s first child and she also left behind a young son named Hagen.
“If it wasn’t for him, I would probably be very stuck, but you know I have to continue to go on because he’s a little guy and we’ve got to help him,” Misty McKnight said.
The judge says even with good behavior, Blitchington most likely won’t be released until he’s around 95 years old.
Action News Jax has provided victim impact statements from family members of the couple below:
Statements from Bailey McKnight’s family
Statements from Ryan Kennedy’s family
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