LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The release from prison of a man sentenced to five years in a crash that killed a University of Kentucky freshman stunned the victim's parents and exasperated the prosecutor.
The parents of Connie Blount became aware 40-year-old Shannon D. Houser was out of prison when Houser petitioned Fayette Circuit Court to regain possession of his pickup truck. Police impounded it after the March 2009 crash.
"We were quite blindsided by his early release," said Jack Blount of Park City, Utah. "We find the whole thing quite offensive and quite disheartening. He did not serve out what the jury ordered him to serve out."
Fayette Commonwealth's Attorney Ray Larson called Houser's release after serving half of his prison time "the dirty little secret" that the sentence imposed bears little resemblance to time served, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader (http://bit.ly/vdFVxi ).
Department of Corrections spokeswoman Lisa Lamb said Houser's release wasn't a parole board or department decision, but was required by statute.
"He didn't get out early. He served his sentence," she said.
Jerry Anderson, Houser's attorney, said his client got time off for participating in prison programs such as a substance-abuse program, and for not causing any problems.
Anderson said the crash that killed the 18-year-old woman was an accident and said Houser's punishment was too harsh.
"That woman was drunk in the middle of the street on a rainy night," he said.
Houser's truck hit Blount as she was crossing a downtown street against the signal and stopped for unknown reasons. She died at University of Kentucky Chandler hospital.