Amy Locane, the former “Melrose Place” actress, is set to be re-sentenced on Feb. 15 in Somerset County for a 2010 fatal accident in Montgomery.
Nick Muscavage, @nmuscavage
SOMERVILLE, N.J. — After a lengthy and emotional hearing almost nine years after she was charged with causing a fatal crash in Montgomery, Amy Locane was sentenced to five years in state prison.
However, Locane will remain free on her own recognizance pending an appeal of the sentence handed down Friday afternoon by Somerset County Superior Court Judge Kevin Shanahan.
Exactly how much time Locane will spend in prison is not yet known, depending on the calculation of how much credit she will be given for the time she has already spent incarcerated.
Somerset County Assistant Prosecutor Matt Murphy, who had been involved in the case since the beginning, had asked Shanahan to impose a 9-year sentence, which is at the upper range of the five- to 10-year range for second-degree crimes.
James Wronko, Locane’s attorney, said he was confident she would prevail in the appeal.
“The Appellate Division will certainly be asked to decide whether they intended to bind the trial judge with their sentencing instructions when they issued them to Judge Shanahan almost a year ago,” Murphy said.
It was the third sentencing for Locane, the former actress who starred with Johnny Depp in “Cry-Baby” and was a featured player on the TV series “Melrose Place.”
Locane had been previously sentenced to three years in state prison on charges of vehicular homicide and assault by auto in connection with the death of Helene Seeman in a drunken driving crash that occurred in June 2010.
Helene Seeman died at the scene and her husband Fred Seeman was injured. The couple’s teenage son Curtis saw his mother die after he ran out of the house when he heard the crash.
Authorities said that at the time, Locane was driving 53 mph in a 35-mph zone, and that her blood alcohol content was almost three times the legal limit
Locane was re-sentenced after a state appellate court ruled in March 2018, following an appeal by the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office, that her three-year sentence was “excessively lenient.”
Fred Seeman told the judge that he came close to death twice as result of a hole in his diaphragm suffered in the accident. He emphasized the trauma suffered by his “damaged” son Curtis who saw his mother die on their front lawn.
He called Locane a “monster” who has “avoided accountability” for the crash. “Give my family the peace we deserve,” he said.
Locane said before the judge, “There is not a day that has gone by that I have not thought of the pain that my actions caused.”
Locane had previously been sentenced to three years in state prison because retired Superior Court Judge Robert Reed had downgraded her conviction to a third-degree crime. Locane served from 2013 to June 2015, and left after serving 85 percent of the sentence.
In July 2016, the state Appellate Court said that Reed had failed to include a mandatory three-year requirement before she would become eligible for parole and that he had overlooked the severity of the offense in determining the sentence.
On Jan. 13, 2017, Reed said there was no “compelling” reason to return Locane to prison.
The Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office again appealed Reed’s sentence and the state Appellate Court agreed, saying that a new judge must perform the sentencing because Reed, who has since retired, did not follow the appellate court’s first ruling.
“This sentence shocks our judicial conscience,” the appellate court wrote in a 43-page decision, adding that Reed “overlooked the single most important factor in the sentencing calculus: the severity of the crime.”
In 2017, the Seeman family was awarded $4.8 million in an out-of-court agreement in a federal civil lawsuit.
Contributing: Associated Press
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