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UPDATE: Seven Courts Hit-and-Run Driver Sentenced 18 Months

The Baltimore County State's Attorney's Office originally requested a 10-year sentence for David Grayson French Jr., who has a history of alcohol related crimes.

Ten months after a woman was struck and killed while crossing Seven Courts Drive, the driver responsible has been sentenced. 

The Baltimore County State's Attorney's Office, however, expressed disappointment at Baltimore County Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Cox's ruling, handed down on Nov. 1. The requested 10-year prison sentence for David Grayson French Jr. was reduced to 18 months, followed by four years of supervised probation and 100 hours of community service, according to Michael Fuller, a Baltimore County assistant state's attorney. 

"I asked for 10 years because I felt the crime was horribly egregious," Fuller said. "The defendant had a prior alcohol related conviction and another alcohol related arrest a month prior. The facts in the case were clear." 

Fuller said several friends and family members of 68-year-old victim Beverly Moore attended the sentencing hearing. Many had also submitted letters about the hit-and-run's devastating impact on the community, he said. 

Community members had long speculated that the driver responsible for Moore's death was under the influence of either drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident, shortly after 7 p.m. on Jan. 22.

"Unfortunately, the fact that it was a hit-and-run means it's impossible to determine if drugs or alcohol were a factor," Fuller said in September. 

French was not charged in connection with Moore's death until April. He eventually pleaded guilty on Aug. 7 to failing to remain on the scene of an accident resulting in death, a felony. 

Moore was a resident of Bourbon Court in Perry Hall and an active member of the neighborhood. 

Shortly after 7 p.m. on Jan. 22, Moore was carrying groceries from a shopping trip at Weis Markets when a vehicle stopped to allow her to cross near the intersection of Lincolnshire Court. A Ford 500 sedan, driven by French, swerved around the vehicle and struck and killed Moore. It then left the scene and turned westbound on Joppa Road, according to police

With the help of an anonymous tip, police located the Ford 500 sedan in the 1600 block of Denise Drive in Bel Air on Feb. 1, near a residence of French. Weeks later, police confirmed the investigation has been turned over to the Baltimore County State's Attorney's Office.

Months passed and frustration among Moore's neighbors grew as the investigation wore on.

"Everybody was waiting for answers," said Charlie Armetta, a friend and neighbor of Moore. "Everybody wanted to know if they would catch him."

On the one-month anniversary of her death, neighbors said an arrest in the case would bring some consolation to the grieving neighborhood.

"We still feel the sadness. It's just so hard for us to understand how this happened," said Cindy Hill, who knew Moore for more than 20 years.

The public outcry that followed Moore's death drew attention to problems with speeding and recklessness on Seven Courts Drive.

Initially, the Parkville police precinct stationed additional police officers along the roadway. A speed display device was later temporarily installed, followed by a permanent speed camera in Seven Oaks Elementary's school zone.

Nearly 12 weeks after Moore's death, police announced charges against 25-year-old French, a resident of the unit block of Sandstone Court in Perry Hall, as well as the 1600 block of Denise Drive in Bel Air.

State's Attorney Scott Shellenberger told Patch that the lengthy investigation was the result of gathering "enough evidence."

Neighbors of Moore expressed relief after the arrest, but continued to grieve. "So many people have suffered from this, so many," Hill said.

Do you agree with the sentence? Tell us how the hit-and-run case impacted the larger Perry Hall community in the comments. 

FIFA November 05, 2012 at 11:26 PM
Accurate analysis, sadly. No smart comments on this one. He will do it again.
Born to be Free November 06, 2012 at 12:05 AM
¡Qué Ridículo! 18 months for killing an innocent lady. That seems too short, way too short. I hope he never moves back to the Perry Hall area.
YEP n YEP November 06, 2012 at 11:22 AM
Again i'll say this but no one will listen. I still see people crossing the street in the same exact manner. So what did we do to make sure it wont happen again? We put up a camera further down the street, thats out of service half the time.
Roberta November 06, 2012 at 12:19 PM
~ OMG...I AM ABSOLUTELY APPALLED!!!!! A MERE SLAP ON THE WRIST...WHAT THE H*LL?!?! WITH THIS INJUSTICE I JUST HOPE HER FAMILY SUES THE H*LL OUT OF THIS UNCARING, COLD AND HEARTLESS SO-CALLED HUMAN BEING!!! HE HAS LITERALLY GOTTEN AWAY WITH MURDER!! AND YES, HE WILL DO IT AGAIN I CAN ONLY HOPE AND PRAY IT'S NOT A MEMBER OF MY FAMILY THE NEXT TIME AROUND!!! SO SAD!! :(
David Marks November 06, 2012 at 12:55 PM
I normally do not weigh in on court decisions, but this is an appalling verdict. I thank our State's Attorney's office for pushing for a much tougher sentence, but I have to question why Judge Cox thought Mr. French deserved an 18-month sentence and "community service" for taking a life and fleeing the scene.
Tim November 06, 2012 at 01:20 PM
You know David, this was my initial reaction as well. Then I looked back at what he was actually convicted of. Legally, they never went after him for something like vehicular manslaughter. I guess somehow they couldn't prove he hit her? "Vehicular manslaughter is an involuntary manslaughter charge that occurs when a driver causes a fatal motor vehicle accident, whether through reckless driving, distracted driving, or driving under the influence (DUI)" He was only convicted of "leaving the scene of an accident resulting in a death". That's my question. Why was he not tried/found guilty of, you know, actually hitting her and causing her death?
FIFA November 06, 2012 at 01:23 PM
Tim, you answered your own question, they could not prove "reckless driving, distracted driving, or under the influence (DUI)". Especially there was probably a case to be made for pedestrian error.
Tim November 06, 2012 at 01:23 PM
So do I, but guess what I do? I stop for them. Look out for others when you are driving. Both other cars (because we all know drivers are bad around here) and for people. What solace will it be to you if you hit and kill someone but end up being legally immune as a result? It's a core problem with society today. Community and having concern for one another is in short supply.
Tim November 06, 2012 at 01:26 PM
FIFA: Not exactly. He did hit her, after swerving around another car that slowed down (legally slowed down, by the way). This alone qualifies as reckless driving. DUI? No. I won't argue that he was or wasn't drunk. That's a pure hypothetical. I obviously don't know every single detail, but this looks like an easy bucket for vehicular manslaughter.
Tim November 06, 2012 at 01:27 PM
Oh, and it was at night, in a steady rain, if I recall correctly. Pretty reckless by any reasonable parameter.
suzanne November 06, 2012 at 02:03 PM
Hate to say but I no longer have faith in our justice system. I know of a case where this guy has over 41items on Md. Case Search which range from drug charges to assault yet this thug is till walking the streets selling drugs. And every time he gets picked up he gets bail. He is a unproductive menace to society yet he keeps getting off and walks the streets...Now you can kill someone and depending on the judge get a slap on the wrist and be walking or driving in 18 months. What about the person who died.... where is the justice for this person.
liz November 06, 2012 at 02:10 PM
the speed camera does nothing for seven courts, i drive this road multiple times a day, and people only slow down at the camera, something else needs to be done, there are too many people walking on seven courts and this will happen again
Sharon J. Remeikis November 06, 2012 at 03:43 PM
No Justice for Beverly Moore!
YEP n YEP November 06, 2012 at 03:53 PM
Tim, shut your mouth boy, tired of your smart comments. Who wants to run people over idiot. I bet you wont even show your face in public little forum board menace. Your a punk ill shut your mouth for you.
YEP n YEP November 06, 2012 at 03:56 PM
Hey look im gay tim, everytime someone writes something i have a smarter answer hee,hee. BOY like i said, show your face. internet general
AmericanMarine November 06, 2012 at 04:23 PM
Liz is right! Everyone knows the camera is removed on Friday early evening and reinstalled on Sunday evening and is in sleep mode after 6pm each weekday evening. Perhaps David Marks could have traffic quieting systems installed and have the speed camera operating 24/7. The school and senior center have the most vulnerable parts of our society to protect and it is our elected officials duty to protect them. Just this a.m a senior couple were almost struck as they were coming out of the polls.
Tim November 06, 2012 at 04:46 PM
There's also - seasonally - large, multi-family yard sales that go on many Saturday mornings there. Although some could argue they are there illegally, the reality is dozens of people cross "illegally' that morning as they shop. Drivers need to stop going 40 in that corridor and look out for them. One thing ol' Yep up there is right on about - it's not like David French wanted to hit anyone, much less kill them. He'll live with that guilt the rest of his life, unfortunately.
Skippy McGirk November 06, 2012 at 05:47 PM
Dude clearly lacked accountability, but why in the hell would someone stop their car on Seven Courts Drive to let a person cross. If I were in that situation I would have assumed there was a moron on the road, and passed. Really dangerous spot to try and be good samaritan.
Skippy McGirk November 06, 2012 at 05:51 PM
If I were in that situation I would have passed the stopped car also, probably hitting the lady. There are several issues here, but I think the main one is that a car stopped on Seven Courts to allow a pedestrian to cross. Bad decisions all around.
KR November 06, 2012 at 07:58 PM
He was out at a bar two weeks ago until 2am, smoking cigs and what appeared to be drinking alcohol. Nothing will change, he will go back and do the same thing again.
FIFA November 06, 2012 at 08:02 PM
YEP is a first time poster. Fool.
FIFA November 06, 2012 at 08:07 PM
Tim, keep your day job, you won't do well as an attorney. He swerved around a car that was slowing down in the right hand lane. He didn't know why the car was slowing. If someone was slowing down in front of you in the right lane on Belair Road you would go around them as well. You might be more careful, you probably wouldn't drive off if you hit someone. The law is about what you can prove. It is a sick, sick, sad story she died. He was probably drunk which is why he ran. But you can only be convicted with proof. He is a low life scumbag.
Jim Arrington November 06, 2012 at 08:44 PM
Judge Cox had no B---- on this verdict, he is a disgrace to the bench and especially to the dead woman.
Tim November 07, 2012 at 12:23 AM
FIFA - no, I wouldn't. OK, if it were daylight/full visibility, sure I would. Night time? No chance. I don't chance what I can't see in this state. I do agree that ultimately it's about what you can prove. Clearly, all they could prove was he left the scene. My original message above spells this out as a response to Councilman Marks. Clearly, the county prosecutor determined there wasn't enough evidence to pursue vehicular manslaughter, thus, he only got 18 months. It's his job to make this determination.
Evets November 07, 2012 at 01:11 AM
Guess the first car should have just run her over? Do you think there is a possiblity that the woman was already in the road and the first guy had no choice but to stop? Of course, if he would have just kep going and run her over, Mr. French might be home free...
Evets November 07, 2012 at 01:12 AM
OR, maybe driver of first car was trying to be, courteous. An archaic concept, I know, but still...
Evets November 07, 2012 at 01:17 AM
He was not charged with any crime involving killing someone. He was charged with failure to remain at the scene of an accident. If he had stopped, and if he had not been drinking (a big IF, I put forth), he would likely not have been charged with any crime.
Evets November 07, 2012 at 01:24 AM
He was not charged with taking a life. He was charged with failing to remain at the scene of an accident. I don't think a judge can simply decide to sentence a man for something he was not charged with. The fact is that if Mr. French had hit this woman and done nothing more than broken her little toe and then fled the scene, the charge would have been exactly the same.
nomoreblunts November 07, 2012 at 06:58 AM
first the accident was horrible. don't stop in a busy road . and dousche vader who has the most comments on the patch needs to start his own honeygo patch because he's not one of ours.he's a nottingammer know it all

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