An ex-astronaut who killed two young Alabama girls while driving under the influence will spend at least four years behind bars after pleading guilty to manslaughter. James Halsell, 64, of Huntsville, was a Space Shuttle commander who flew five missions. Ten years after retirement, he crashed into another car in Tuscaloosa, leaving Niomi Deona James, 11, and Jayla Latrick Parler, 13, dead.
“There are clearly no winners here. It’s a horrible thing for the family. You have a man who has done very good things, who in this case did a very, very, very bad thing,” Tuscaloosa County District Attorney Hays Webb said, according to AL.com.
“It just shows how thin the line is, and how fast and how far people can fall.”
The girls’ family prayed outside the courthouse.
“My daughters were amazing, beautiful, smart, strong little girls that could have been anything in this world if they had the opportunity to grow up, but that was taken from me and all of everyone else in this world,” their mother, Latrice Parler, told WAFF.