47-year-old Dean Philbrick was sentenced to 15 years in prison, but the maximum he could serve behind bars is seven years, the rest will be suspended. In fact with good behavior he could be out in less than three years.
His crime he killed 23-year-old Erica Knowles in a drunk driving accident early last year. Knowles's family is outraged by the sentence:
"The severity of the crime deserves more than that. We don't feel that it acts as a deterrent and rehabilitation in the case of Dean Philbrick, he is a habitual drunk driver and lawbreaker. So, his history, he has done this unfortunately for a living," said John Priore, Erica's Step Father.
Phibrick read a letter of apology in court today, but the victim's family doubts his sincerity and unless the general assembly changes the laws, with the help of the judicial review this is the maximum any drunk driving killer will get.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving is pressing for tougher Rhode Island laws. Dean Philbrick had three previous drunk driving arrests in Maine. MADDwants a car ignition interlock device for repeat offenders like Philbrick. How it works? The driver has to breathe into it, and the car won't start if they've been drinking.