DETROIT (WJBK) - A Detroit man accused of killing one of his friends during a drunken joy ride -- is going to prison.
The victim's mother said she forgave him during an emotional day in court.
"I don't have any problem with you," said Sheletha Clay Brown, the victim's mother. "You did not wake up that morning and say you were going to kill my son. It was a freak accident."
Moments before a tearful Levontae Choice received his sentence in court Tuesday, he heard from the mother of Jamal Lawrence.
Last September Lawrence was the passenger in Choice's car when Choice got behind the wheel drunk and hit a tree near Ewald Circle and San Juan in Detroit.
Lawrence, nicknamed Gouch, died at the scene and another man was injured.
"I forgive you," Brown said. "I wish the best for you. I wish you would take this knowledge and use it."
Choice's attorney says his client who is a father has learned from this tragic mistake.
"He's never been in criminal justice system," said Hassan Hamade, Choice's attorney. "This is a learning experience. He's remorseful. He knows alcohol can change lives."
And then through tears, Choice spoke to the victim's family.
"I want to say sorry to Gouch for even making my decision," he said.
Judge Kevin Cox told the courtroom that he believes Choice regrets his decision to drink and drive that day. He also believes Choice has learned from his mistake.
And then Judge Cox delivered his sentence
"Mr. Choice the court hereby sentences you to no less than three years and no more than 15 years on count one which is operating while intoxicated causing death," Cox said. "And on count two, the court sentences you to no less than three years and no more than five years in the Michigan Department of Corrections."
And although the victim's mom says she forgives, she admits the pain never goes away.
"When you close your eyes you're going to see my son just like when I close my eyes and I see my son."