Father wants mercy for man who pleaded guilty in death of sisters

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HANOVER, Va. --A 23-year-old Mechanicsville man pleaded guilty Wednesday to killing a young woman and her teenage sister when the car he was driving crashed into the Chickahominy River.

Jessica Gallmeyer, 26, and her half-sister, Amanda Irby, 15, died in February 2014, when Andrew Walters sped away from a traffic stop, lost control and crashed the car.

Walters ran off, but the girls were trapped inside.

Fire officials said both women were in cardiac arrest when they were pulled from the car, but that both resuscitated and regained a pulse on the way to the hospital.

“They were under water for a significant period of time…they were in cardiac arrest during that period of time,” Henrico Fire spokesperson Captain Daniel Rosenbaum said, in February.

Gallmeyer’s father, Stephen Gallmeyer Sr., said he does not believe Walters intentionally killed the pair.

“I do not believe he got up that morning and said, hey, 'I think I'll find a couple of people to kill today,'” Gallmeyer said.

Gallmeyer said he barely knew Walters, but his daughter spoke very highly of him.

He said Jessica would not want Walters behind bars for the rest of his life, so he is satisfied with the 15 year maximum sentence that was recommended.

“I just don't think she would want him nailed to the cross or buried under the jail,” Gallmeyer said.

Still, Gallmeyer has not fully forgiven Walters yet for taking away his precious girl.

“In order for me to say those words, I'd have to hear the words 'I'm sorry,'" Gallmeyer said. "But, I think that I have in my heart.”

He said he still leaves Facebook message for her, like this recent one that said "I felt your presence this week, come visit again soon."

Jessica Gallmeyer leaves behind two young children.

Walters will be officially sentenced on February 18.

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