LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The man convicted of killing a little girl in a Lake George boating crash was sentenced to prison in Warren County Court.
Alex West will serve five to 15 years in prison for the eight counts against him. The highest offense was manslaughter. The sentences will run concurrently.
West was accused of being under the influence of drugs and alcohol at the time of the boating hit-and-run after leaving a Log Bay Day celebration on Lake George last July. Charlotte McCue, 8, died as a result of the crash.
In court on Monday, the judge said he received 60 to 70 letters from family and friends of both Charlotte and West. Some of those letters were read in court.
“Now is the time for us to be heard. And more importantly, it’s time for Charlotte to be heard.”
Charlotte’s mother, Courtney McCue, suffered serious injuries in the crash. She was the first to read her victim impact statement
“She was a spectacular, freckly-faced firecracker with a scratchy voice,” she described. “She was a loving sister, an amazing daughter, a caring granddaughter, and a really fun friend.”
Courtney tearfully remembered the night her daughter died.
“She was asleep on my lap, and then out of nowhere, she was in shreds,” she said. “Charlotte snuggled every chance she could get – even up to the very last minute of her life.”
Courtney spoke about the type of girl her daughter was.
“I was in the middle of raising a gorgeous, talented, vivacious, loving, amazing daughter, and that privilege was ripped away from me.”
Charlotte’s grandfather, Robert Knarr, read a statement written by her father, Eric.
“She was exceptional and special in so many ways, and anyone who knew her would tell you so,” he read. “He killed my daughter and maimed my wife. He scarred my children and has emotionally crippled countless members of my extended family. These are choices he made.”
Her grandmother Christine Knarr remembered how Charlotte’s little brother reacted to his sister’s death.
“Who originally thought pirates came and took Charlotte,” she said. “And told me if we just gave them what they wanted, they would give his sister back.”
And Charlotte’s sister, Madison.
“Madison is a 10-year-old big sister who has the horrific image of her sibling’s lifeless body forever etched in her mind,” she said. “Who cried herself to sleep in my arms that night because she was so afraid the last words her and her sister exchanged that evening were unkind.
Warren County District Attorney Kate Hogan read a small part of the letter Madison wrote the judge.
“I wanted to see Charlotte grow up all the way,” she read. “I wanted to do sisterly things with her like have sleepovers, tell each other our deepest, darkest secrets, and even just sit next to each other and talk.”
Hogan told the judge the crash was not an accident, and Charlotte’s father could not be in the courtroom because he could not be in the presence of what he called “the man who killed his daughter.”
The McCue and Knarr families asked for the maximum sentencing for West, who read a short statement before learning his sentence.
“I am haunted every day by it,” he said. “Knowing I was part of something that took away a beautiful little girl.”
Charlotte’s family also said in their statements that it upsets them to see no remorse from West and makes it harder to heal as they feel he still has not taken responsibility for his actions.