, Salem, MA

Local News

November 16, 2012

Sentence brings outrage

Family of accident victim, 19, wanted driver indicted


Griffin told police she hadn’t wanted to drive that night, after drinking two beers and two vodka/Red Bull mixed drinks at a house party that both she and Renard had attended. But, she said, Renard was drunker.

A test during his autopsy later confirmed that he had a blood alcohol level of .24 when he died of what a medical examiner called “blunt head and neck trauma.”

His brother Matt Rubner, in a victim-impact statement, was more direct: His brother was decapitated.

Police found an open beer can in the car and another one, empty, outside the passenger-side door.

“I’m sorry,” Griffin told police at the scene.

Renard’s family doesn’t think she was punished severely enough.

“Dillon got a death sentence for getting in the car with you that night; we received a life sentence because our pain has overcome our lives and will never go away, will never, ever go away,” Cherie Rubner said in a written victim-impact statement read by a cousin, Joseph Keith. “I just can’t seem to rationalize how the loss of a license or a couple of years in jail is a rational punishment.”

“It makes no sense,” Matthew Rubner said. “It makes me sick.” He told the judge that the family had hoped for an indictment and a trial.

“We want the truth and the facts to come out,” he said.

“I wanted it to go to trial,” a still-upset Cherie Rubner said outside court. “They made it seem like we agreed to that. How many more kids have to lose their lives before the law changes?”

She’s hoping to have legislation filed to increase the penalty for vehicular homicide while under the influence.

While a small group of family and friends of Griffin attended yesterday’s hearing, the larger group of Wiccans who had come to court to show support for Griffin was not present. Griffin had worked at a local business and was a close family friend of Christian Day, the local Wiccan businessman who helped her pay for a lawyer.

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