RICHMOND, Va., -- "I have to see my daughter dead," Beth Raby cried from the witness stand as she remembered the moments after learning her daughter was killed in a car crash on a Richmond road in 2016.
Nancy Delgado, 43, entered a guilty plea in Richmond Circuit Court Wednesday, to a reduced misdemeanor reckless driving charge for the death of Jillian Little, 26.
The charge was part of a plea agreement and amended from felony involuntary manslaughter after Commonwealth's Attorney Michael Herring said he wanted to ensure a conviction based on the evidence taken from the scene.
Herring told the court that Delgado was driving at least 63 miles per hour on Brook Road when she slammed into the back of Little's 2002 Chevy, killing her around 1:20 a.m. Friday, April 22. The speed limit on Brook Road is 35 miles per hour.
The defense said if the case went to trial, they would argue that Little's car was sitting in the left lane of Brook Road at the time of the crash and paperwork found inside the car showed the Chevy's rear indicator lights weren't properly working.
Delgado's attorney, William Parcell, said a toxicology report showed Little's B.A.C. (Blood alcohol content) at .11, which is over the legal limit for a driver in Virginia. He mentioned no autopsy was conducted on Little's body.
Parcell told the judge other witnesses near the scene believed Delgado was driving about 40 miles per hour before the crash.
"Our worst case scenario would be not guilty," Herring said.
The most emotional moments came when Little's mother read from her six-page deposition during the sentencing phase of the case.
Beth Raby testified her daughter was living independently in Richmond, attending J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, and had dreams of becoming a marine biologist.
"I wish I didn't have to live," Raby cried.
She asked the people inside the courtroom to close their eyes and imagine how they would feel if their child was tragically killed.
"For the rest of your life, you will be very much alone. You can only imagine," she said.
Little, who worked at the Tobacco Company as a bartender, was known for her bright, bubbly personality.
She was survived by her mother and father.
A judge sentenced Delgado to 12 months in jail with about two months suspended for time served. She will remain under psychiatric care and be required to purchase a "Drive Safely" sign to be placed at the scene of the fatal crash.