Blue Springs man sentenced for friend’s death in May 2015 100 mph crash

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- A Jackson County judge sentenced a 21-year-old man, who admitted his responsibility in the death of his friend, 19-year-old Clint Reno, killed in a car crash in Independence on May 18, 2015 near Missouri 78 and Holke Road.

The judge sentenced Julian Melissinas to two-and-a-half years in prison on Thursday.

Melissinas was driving a car when he lost control at about 2:50 a.m. on that Monday morning in May 2015. The vehicle traveled through a field and then crashed into a tree. Investigators determined Melissinas was speeding down the narrow road, reaching speeds of more than 100 mph. The truck was left mangled, his friend Clint Reno was dead.

Family members say Melissinas and Reno were good friends, but Reno's family is disappointed that Melissinas has not obeyed the rules of his bond. Shelli Jones said Reno was an amazing, caring young man, whom she helped raise. She said her cousin's death has forever changed their family.

"It's just heartbreaking. It's just a living nightmare that's not ever going to end for Clint's family," Jones said.

That sentence maximum was part of a plea agreement; Melissinas agreed to plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter and in exchange prosecutors agreed they would not seek a prison sentence longer than five years.

The plea in June came after a judge revoked Melissinas bond for a probation violation after he reportedly tested positive for marijuana during a drug screening. His trial was set for September. Jones said they hoped the judge sentenced Melissinas to the maximum of five years in prison.

"We're hoping for the five years. This no accident by any means. He has never shown remorse until right now today," said Jones.

Melissinas' defense attorney, Molly Hastings, said she believes her client is contrite.

"I do believe that Julian is remorseful. I do believe that this has affected him on a level that he will deal with on a daily basis for the rest of his life," Hastings said.

Melissinas will be transferred to the Missouri Department of Corrections in St. Joseph. Reno's family with gather for a memorial on Saturday, which would have been his 21st birthday.
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Original coverage the morning of the crash: