Jason Michael Denton

Leonardtown, MD — The driver of a car whose passenger was killed in an accident has been released from jail after serving 553 days. St. Mary’s County Circuit Court Judge Michael Stamm on Monday sentenced Jason Denton, 27, of White Plains to 10 years in jail but suspended all but the 553 days and gave him credit for time served.

Denton was the driver of a car on February 5, 2012 that went out of control and collided with a tree on MD 6 just east of MD 235 near the Korner Karryout in Mechanicsville. The passenger, Paul Burnett, II, 32, was pronounced deceased on the scene. Denton was also injured in the accident.

In an unusual move Judge Stamm in May of last year ordered Denton to remain in jail for 18 months before a final sentence was imposed. Denton originally entered an Alford Plea which means he did not admit guilt but conceded the state had enough evidence to get a conviction. During Monday’s hearing Denton’s attorney Joseph McBride of Silver Spring said, “My client has absolutely no memory of that day.”

But at Monday’s hearing Denton pled guilty to Negligent Manslaughter by Automobile. The state dropped a charge of Negligent Homicide by Auto While under the Influence of Alcohol and one other charge.

During the hearing Deputy State’s Attorney Jaymi Sterling said “speed and alcohol were the reason for the crash.” His blood/alcohol level tested .14 after the crash.
Burnett’s widow sat in the audience during the sentencing hearing but chose not to say anything. The judge expressed to Mrs. Burnett his sympathy for her loss.

Denton will be on five year’s supervised probation.