Wednesday, April 23, 2014
By Craig Crosby
(Continued from page 1)
Sentenced to prison: Attorney Pam Ames, right, stands beside Joshua A. Erskine, 25, as he apologizes to the family of 81-year-old Ruth Epperson during sentencing on Friday in Kennebec County Superior Court in Augusta.
Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal
“What good is it going to do to throw him in prison and throw away the key?” Ames asked. “He’s just a young man who made an absolute terrible decision.”
Murphy lauded Erskine for his remorse and work ethic, but the sentence was lengthened by Erskine’s “significant” impairment during the crash and the suffering Epperson experience before her death.
“This was not a slow and easy death,” Murphy said. “Mrs. Epperson fought for life for six days before she died.”
Murphy said victim statements prepared by Epperson’s family urged the judge to find ways to help Erskine deal with his substance abuse. The statements even urged Murphy to show lenience.
“Mrs. Epperson is the kind of woman who would have wanted compassion for Mr. Erskine,” Murphy said.
Murphy said the statements made it clear that Epperson’s death has had a tremendous impact on the family and the community at large. A nurse for 20 years at Augusta General Hospital, Epperson volunteered at her grandchildren’s daycare and the Augusta Food Bank and was active in charity work through her church. Family members have said the biggest void is felt by Epperson’s husband, Clyde Epperson.
“She was married happily for more than 56 years,” Murphy said. “That simple number alone tells us all we need to know about how this has impacted him.”
Craig Crosby can be contacted at 621-5642 or at: