By Cass Rains, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
A man convicted last month of manslaughter and DUI with great bodily harm was formally sentenced to 12 years in prison Friday morning, in accordance with the jury’s wishes.
Vincent Blaine Sixkiller was sentenced to eight years for first-degree manslaughter and four years for DUI with great bodily injury, to be served consecutively.
Sixkiller’s attorney, Evans Chambers, said he intends to file an appeal.
Sixkiller was charged Nov. 18, 2010, in the death of Robert Ukena and severe injury of Michelle Schartz, caused by a four-vehicle crash at 2:04 a.m. on West Willow five days earlier. He was convicted on both charges following a weeklong jury trial. The jury recommended Dec. 7, 2012, Sixkiller serve eight years on the manslaughter charge and four years on the DUI.
District Judge Paul Woodward handed down the sentence following the reading of victim-impact statements by the families of Ukena and Schartz before a nearly full courtroom.
The judge told Sixkiller he had come to the court for mercy, but had not taken responsibility for his actions. He told Sixkiller his own expert witness even said he believed there was alcohol in his system at the time of the accident.
“This was not an accident,” Woodward said. “You have taken the position Mrs. Schartz wasn’t even hurt badly.”
The judge said he was following the jury’s recommendation and ordered him to serve the sentences recommended following trial.
“I’m running counts one and two consecutively,” Woodward said.
Victim impact statements were read by Ukena’s sister, Karissa Jordahl, and brother, Eddie Ukena. Schartz read a statement, and her mother, Kim Ryel, read her own statement and a statement from Schartz’ 8-year-old daughter, Brionna.
Jordahl talked of her and her brother losing their mother when she was 6, and how Robert’s death had effected Eddie. She said she felt like she’s lost both brothers.
“Since you have been convicted, I finally see a little peace within both Eddie and Michelle and through our whole family,” she said. “What a lot of people don’t understand was, Bob and Eddie were like night and day. Without Eddie there was no Bob, but sadly, without Bob, there is no Eddie. So I truly feel in my heart that I have not lost one brother, but both.”
Jordahl said she hopes Sixkiller will think about her brother, his children and her family while in prison.
“I hope you sincerely regret what you have done, because our family suffers every single day,” she said. “Not once have you apologized for your actions. Are you sorry?”
Eddie Ukena began his statement talking about the loss of his father and mother as children. He and his brother were able to work and keep their family together, eventually reaching their goal of starting families of their own.
“I want to take this time to let you know no words can express how much my brother meant to me,” he said. “He was not only my brother, my best friend and in some ways like a parent to me. Blaine, by making your negligent, careless decision, your actions caused me to be forced again to endure the worst and most extensive tragedy yet.”
Eddie described his brother as a hardworking family man who loved his children dearly.
“Blaine, what we really wanted and needed from you and your family is an expression of compassion and accountability for taking Bob from us and from this world,” he said. “With no attempt to even express concern, or even apologize, or even in the slightest bit have you once shown any of us or your family the slightest bit of sincere sorrow for everything we have been through. To bring you up to date, you are not the victim that you portrayed to have been these past two years.”
Schartz told Sixkiller in her statement he took 40 days from her the morning of Nov. 13, 2010.
“There are 33 days I have no memory of,” she said. “I was awake, but out of the 40-day stay in the hospital, I only remember seven days.”
She said she felt Ukena had protected her the night of the crash, as he’d done since she was 6 years old.
Schartz said the right side of her body does not function properly because of the injuries she suffered in the collision. She told Sixkiller he should have to explain to her children and Ukena’s why he is gone.
“I feel in my heart you should have to explain to his children why he is not here with us, celebrating the holidays and every other day without him,” she said. “You took an innocent life and destroyed a lot. Not one time have you just said you were sorry. Nothing. How?”
She said because of her injuries, she was not able to attend Ukena’s celebration of life.
“I was not there to hold his hand through this when he needed me the most,” she said. “You made that impossible.”
Ryel told Sixkiller he took the life of a son, brother, father, uncle and dear friend.
“Two precious children have lost their daddy because of you,” she said. “There are so many things that need to be said. I could say so many things about Bob, but what needs to be said is that you took Bob’s life and destroyed my daughter’s life.”
Ryel addressed Sixkiller’s mother, who was sitting in the front row of the courtroom behind her son, saying she had empathy with her because they were both mothers.
“In my heart I know you did not raise your son this way. I do feel you and your family have enabled your son,” she said. “He did not build his tolerance for alcohol overnight. You are the lucky ones. You can still see your son. Our family, on the other hand, will never get to spend another moment with Bob. Your son took that.”
Ryel told Sixkiller he needs to take responsibility for what he’s done.
“I have no doubt you’ve had the very best of everything your entire life,” she said, “But the truth is you committed a crime, caused the death of Bob and caused great bodily injury to Michelle. Now you should pay the consequences.”
Ryel then addressed Sixkiller’s friends sitting in the courtroom.
“And to your friends, why didn’t you protect him?” she said. “You all seem to support him, but why didn’t you step up and take him home?”
She then addressed problems between those involved with the case.
“Please, have your little gang of friends stop harassing my family. They have tormented my daughter from the very first time she was able to attend one of your bond appearances,” she said. “You are not innocent in any of this, yet by your actions, your friends and family’s actions, they have treated us like we were at fault. What fault of this is ours?”
Following the statements, Chambers addressed the court. He said he advised Sixkiller and his family not to speak to anyone because of the pending criminal and civil cases.
Chambers read a statement written by an 18-year-old Enid High School student, stating Sixkiller was not a criminal like drug dealers or sex offenders that get to go free. Chambers said his client had no criminal history and asked the court to consider probation or deferred sentencing.
Sixkiller has 10 days from Friday’s date to file his appeal.