BURRELL TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — It’s been almost seven years to the day since Sean Pearce was killed and his family is finally getting justice.
Greg Wisneski pleaded guilty to causing an accident involving injury or death expecting to spend up to a month in prison.
But on Friday, an Indiana County judge went outside the sentencing guidelines, putting Wisneski behind bars for one to two years.
The reason was a lack of remorse for the night he hit bicyclist Sean Pearce and left him for dead along Route 119 in Burrell Township.
“He deserves justice and now we can actually say justice was served,” Kunkle said.
An Indiana County judge initially threw out the case because prosecutors couldn’t prove that Pearce was alive when he was hit and a superior court panel agreed.
It was a ruling by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that brought the case back to Indiana County and ultimately led to Friday’s sentencing.
Heather Kunkle and her sister, Shannon Anderson, along with their mother gave powerful victim impact statements in the courtroom – the culmination of a long fight for justice.
“I think their letters and their statements to judge made a difference,” Indiana County District Attorney Patrick Dougherty said.
Just last week, Governor Tom Corbett signed Sean’s Law which will create stiffer penalties for hit-and-run drivers across Pennsylvania.
“I want him to be remembered as somebody who actually sacrificed his life for other people,” Kunkle said.
At the Pearce home Friday, balloons were released in Sean’s memory – 29 hearts to mark the age he died and seven stars to mark the years since his death.
Greg Wisneski was led out of the courthouse in handcuffs. He’ll serve his sentence at the Indiana County Jail.