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Man sentenced in death of friend in alcohol related crash
TROY -- Sentencing for a man in his twenties, and mourning for his friend killed in a crash. Earlier this month, Brendan Hoffman, 22, was found guilty in connection to the alcohol-related crash which took the life of Christopher Baker, 24. But, the one thing missing was Hoffman's ownership of his actions that night in June of 2012.
Prosecutors also revealed Hoffman had a history of driving infractions before the crash in Stephentown which changed everything.
Hoffman kept his head held down while shedding tears as the judge sentenced him to the maximum -- 5 to 15 years in prison. The jury believed he was responsible for the crash which killed Baker.
Hoffman spoke through his attorney: "Chris was a wonderful person. The best. He did not deserve to die this way. He was my best friend and his death is something i have to live with for the rest of my life."
Baker's mother's hands shook as she spoke about all the things her son might want to do, like graduate RPI.
"This unassuming young man had strong core values of family friends reciprocity caring and truth," said Nancy Petersen. "All we have left to give Chris is to reassure him that truth exists."
Baker's father cannot escape the haunts of a father's worst nightmare. "Every day we drive past the crash site where chris died, laying next to the road like a rag doll flung as that car overturned alone," Brian Baker said.
Hoffman fled the scene, leaving Baker, and didn't tell anyone Baker was in the car until later. His lawyer at sentencing stood by his argument at trial.
"I do not believe that Brendan was driving that night ... and i'll believe that forever," said defense attorney Peter Moschetti.
But the prosecutor said a history of a previous DWI and driving with a suspended license which could not be ignored.
"This was not an accident where the defendant made a mistake once," said prosecutor Michael Shanley. "This was a course of conduct."
Judge Debra Young said at sentencing that the crowd in the courtroom was a testament to the lives both Christopher Baker and Brendan Hoffman led, and said both would likely continue to lead positive lives until June 28, 2012.