SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Jerry Chambers Jr., the man convicted in a drive-by shooting and deadly car crash after July 4th celebrations in 2017, has been sentenced to prison.
Chambers was sentenced Monday to life in prison with the possibility of parole in regards to three counts of felony murder.
In March, a jury found Chambers guilty of 10 criminal charges, including three counts of felony murder, three counts of vehicular homicide, fleeing police and reckless driving. He was found not guilty of aggravated assault and gang-related charges.
The case stems from an incident after Fourth of July celebrations back in 2017. Police say Chambers was driving a white SUV when shots were fired from the vehicle near City Market, one of Savannah’s busiest areas.
“He turned downtown Savannah into a mass casualty zone that you would see in a war zone,” said Matthew Breedon, Chatham County Assistant District Attorney, at the sentencing on Monday.
Police say officers chased after the SUV, which may have reached speeds of up to 120 miles per hour, until Chambers hit a pedestrian and then a pole. The pedestrian and two passengers inside the car died. 20-year-old Gabriel Magulias and 17-year-old Spencer Stuckey were the two passengers.
The pedestrian was later identified as a beloved restaurant manager, Scott Waldrup. His body was cut in half during the crash.
Breedon argued to Judge Benjamin Karpf that Chambers deserved a life sentence without the possibility of parole for his lifelong impacts on several families and innocent bystanders, including Waldrup.
“He murdered Scott Waldrup, a completely innocent bystander with a bright future,” said Breedon. “Somebody who was doing things in our community, somebody who was just out enjoying a good time.”
Chambers’ defense attorneys argued a sentence without a chance for parole would not be proportional to the crime committed. They argue that because Chambers is still young, there is a possibility he will change during his time in prison.
“A lot can happen in 30 years and you shouldn’t count him out now,” said Joseph Vingeri.
The mother of Magulias and Starkey appeared in court to ask Judge Karpf to grant Chambers the opportunity for parole.
“We forgive Jerry. And we know in our hearts that Gabriel does also,” said Nancy Magulias.
In the end, Judge Karpf agreed with the defense, though he says evidence from the scene is some of the worst he has ever seen.
Since going to jail, prosecutors say Chambers has had 28 disciplinary reports.