The man who killed Guyanese-born Barbadian musician Jermaine Forrester in a hit-and-run in the United States four years ago has been sentenced to five years in prison.
Forrester’s mother had said she did not believe sending John Dineen to prison would serve any purpose and his attorney argued for probation. But the prosecutor insisted that a custodial sentence would act as a deterrent.
Forrester died on the spot when Dineen, who authorities said had had three glasses of wine that night and also had marijuana in his system, hit him around midnight on July 15, 2010 as he was crossing Route 139 in Jersey City.
Dineen sped away in his Toyota Land Cruiser, leaving the 33-year-old singer who had been living in Queens lying on the pavement.
Defence attorney, John R. Schwartz, unsuccessfully argued for a probationary sentence, reading aloud part of a letter that Forrester’s mother had addressed to the court, quoting “I do not believe putting Mr. Dineen in prison for his actions would do any good.”
But Hudson County Assistant Prosecutor Michael D’Andrea told Judge Paul DePascale that the state was already asking for a minimum sentence under the special request of Forrester’s mother, who was not present in court.
He said while the mother did not think a prison sentence was appropriate for Dineen, there was still a need to deter others in society from doing what he had done.
Fidgeting with a rosary bead behind his back, Dineen stared straight ahead as he was sentenced yesterday.
On February 14 this year, he pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of a fatal motor vehicle collision and failing to submit to a Breathalyzer test.