Mexico attorney James A. Clampitt hugged his family before being taken into custody after a judge sentenced him to two years in the state penitentiary for leaving the scene of an accident and six months in the Audrain County Jail for second-degree vehicular manslaughter for his involvement in a 2010 hit and run accident that caused the death of another Mexico man, Richard Cobb.
Clampitt was taken into custody by Chariton County Sheriff's deputies. As of this morning he was still being housed at the Chariton County Jail, and this morning officials there were uncertain what would happen next.
Clampitt was formally sentenced by Judge Gary Ravens Thursday afternoon. As the sentence was delivered, Clampitt's parents, wife and friends stood nearby. Members of Cobb's family were also present.
The judgement came after both the state and the defense presented witnesses commenting on Clampitt's character and the effects of Cobb's death on the Cobb family.
Clampitt was found guilty in January in the Chariton County Courthouse of felony charges of second-degree vehicular manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident that happened on June 13, 2010, when Clampitt's SUV hit a riding lawnmower being driven by Richard Cobb. Cobb died three days later from injuries he received in the collision. Cobb's widow, Marcy Hill, was among those giving testimony.
On Thursday, the victim's brother, Shawn Hill, read the following from a victim's impact statement written by Cobb's mother: "Mr. Clampitt you helped take my baby boy away from me, his brother, his wife of five weeks and children and you have changed our life forever. He was a good man. Many neighbors ran out and found him. How could you have not known. How could you not stop? We will never have my son back, and I feel you need to serve the time and feel the pain we are feeling."
Shawn Hill told the court that he believes Clampitt has remorse, but the victim's family feels the attorney should have gotten more time. "I guess, we'll have to be satisfied."
During the final statements before judgement was passed, Clampitt's attorney Kevin Hamlett pleaded for probation for his client, based on his community ties and humanitarian spirit. He also stated that Clampitt would no longer be able to practice law if he went to prison.
"There's one thing I just can't understand in this case. And that is, why you didn't stop (after you knew that you had hit something)," Judge Raven said.
Clampitt's attorney has 120 days to appeal. As for his license to practice law, the Missouri Supreme Court will have final say as to whether or not his license will be revoked.
Clampitt also has another felony case for stealing without consent, attempted stealing and fraudulent use of a credit device. That three-day trial is set to begin at 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 9 in the Chariton County Circuit Court in Keytesville.