Shantel Lynn Witt, whose behavior after killing a Bend cyclist shocked the community, is appealing her conviction and sentence.
Through an attorney with the state public defense agency, Witt filed paperwork to contest her conviction for first-degree manslaughter and its associated 12-year sentence.
Though sentenced to prison in February, Witt remains an inmate of the Deschutes County jail. Through a quirk in the state’s complex sentencing calculations, she will serve the first two years of her sentence in Bend before transferring to the state system.
In another matter, a judge this month issued his final ruling on restitution in Witt’s case, finding for a sum much lower than the prosecution had asked. Witt must pay $78,000 to Stone’s relatives and fellow victims.
Following Witt’s sentencing, the Deschutes County District Attorney’s office asked Stone’s family to compile costs associated with attending court proceedings for supplemental restitution that would go beyond the $78,000. Stone’s twin sister testified at the hearing; she cut short a Hawaiian vacation after learning of her sister’s death, forfeiting more than $10,000 in lodging and transportation. Adler rejected that, along with other smaller costs.
Greg Middag, father of Witt’s victim, Marika Stone, said he’s content with the restitution amount.
“Money couldn’t have given me what I really want,” he said from his home in Milledgeville, Georgia. “I’m just glad it’s over-over.”
At the time of the crash, Witt’s husband ran a small construction company and she didn’t work.
District Attorney John Hummel said he cannot predict the likelihood Witt pays every cent to her victims.
“Restitution is not for the purposes of punishment,” he said. “It’s to make the victim whole.”
Witt was high on a mix of prescribed and nonprescribed medication in December 2017 when she drove her truck head-on into cyclist Marika Stone. It was Witt’s behavior immediately following the collision that earned her a conviction for first-degree manslaughter, which requires the judge to find a defendant acted with “extreme indifference.”
Here, Witt yelled abuse at the surviving cyclists and was never heard expressing remorse for her actions or sympathy for her victims.
Judge A. Michael Adler called Witt’s behavior after the crash “remarkable” and said the case bore striking similarities to State v. Downing, which established precedent in Oregon for extreme indifference to prove first-degree manslaughter.
A $36 million wrongful death lawsuit filed by Stone’s husband, Jerry, is still pending against Witt.
— Reporter: 541-383-0325, firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor’s note: This story was changed to more accurately reflect the opinion of the Deschutes County District Attorney.