INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- A 19-year old man from Lee's Summit may remain in jail until 2022.
On Wednesday, Blake Issacson was sentenced to four years in prison, having already pled guilty to causing the Nov. 16, 2016, car crash that killed Macie Rice, a 15-year-old student at Blue Springs South High School riding in the backseat of his car.
The accident badly injured another teenager, Katelin Mershon, who was also 15 at the time of the crash.
Isaacson's attorney, Marilyn Keller, asked Jackson County Circuit Judge Susan E. Long to sentence Issacson to probation instead of prison time. Long expressed that her decision didn't come without strong consideration.
Under this sentence, Issacson will be eligible for probation after 120 days in a state penitentiary.
"I take full responsibility for what happened," Issacson told the court. "No apology will ever bring her back. That's what I wish I could do."
"I miss everything about her," Kelly Rice, Macie's mother, tearfully told the court. "She was passionate, bold and confident. I'd give anything for one more hug."
Issacson expressed feelings of remorse for having caused the accident, which happened on a back road near Blue Springs. Testimony on Wednesday stated that Issacson was driving nearly three times the posted speed limit.
Mershon told the court she remembered Issacson asking the two girls in the car, "Are you ready to fly," just before he punched the gas, lost control of the car and struck several trees.
"There's no sentence that could do what we need done," Aimee Mershon told reporters. "It's been our everyday hell."
On Nov. 8 last year, the now-19 year old Issacson pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter and assault in the third degree. His prison sentence began immediately, and after an overnight stay at the Jackson County Detention Center, he's expected to be sent to prison.
Dozens of Rice's classmates from Blue Springs South High School attended the sentencing.
Mershon, who was hospitalized after the crash, was in the front seat of the car when it smashed into the trees. Aimee, her mother, said her daughter now suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, and over a year later, the family continues to find shreds of broken glass in the teenager's skin.
Mershon told reporters giving testimony wasn't easy for her.
"It was really hard, but I did it for Macie," Katelin Mershon said. "(The hardest part was) having to say that my best friend was dead."
Macie's stepfather, Mike Knott, brought a large framed portrait of Macie to court on Wednesday, a vivid reminder of the young person who's forever lost.
"Blake took more than Macy's life that day," Knott told the court. "He took the future of many people."
"I'm glad we can start our healing process. That's what I'm glad for. I'm hoping it can give mine and Macie's family closure," Aimee Mershon added.
Issacson's loved ones seemed to accept the verdict with a sense of resignation. Makahiil Mohammed, who said he was the Issacson's neighbor at one time, said Blake is wrought with regret. Mohammed said he's relieved the punishment wasn't stronger.
"I've been friends with Blake ever since I was a kid," Mohammed said on Wednesday afternoon. "Blake did commit a crime, so obviously, there's a time to it. He's a good kid and not everybody deserves a life sentence, so the time he got is appropriate."
Issacson is also a rap musician, and Rice family members said they're deeply offended by songs he wrote and posted to his Twitter page, seemingly taking delight in having caused the crash. Issacson apologized for that, explaining to the court his music was merely an expression of grief.
Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney Michael Hunt said Long will decide whether or not Issacson receives probation at a hearing that could happen before Memorial Day. Hunt said his client must maintain a good standing in prison before Judge Long will consider reducing his sentence.
A GoFundMe account was started to help with Macie's funeral expenses. It raised more than $14,000.
It included a note from her family, Kelly, Matt and Ethan.
Her family wrote:
It is with unimaginable sadness that I must write this about the loss of our daughter. Macie was taken from us at the young age of 15 on Nov 16th, 2016. Macie was involved in a car accident in which she was a passenger.
Macie is the daughter of Kelly Rice and Matt Knott. She also is the granddaughter of Margie Rice and has countless family and friends saddened by her loss.
Macie was a sophomore at Blue Spring South High School. Macie loved school and being involved in school activities. Along with many things at school, Macie was one of the football managers and during football season never missed a game or a practice. She was a good student and loved her photography class and taking photos any chance she could. Macie always talked of being a teacher.
Macie was a fun person that always looked past a person's exterior to see the good in each . She was out going , fun, loved to travel, swim and hangout with her friends. She loved Disney World, although I think she just went to humor us because Disney with your parents is probably not the funnest thing for a teenage girl.
Macie will never be able to be replaced but she will always live on in the hearts of her family and friends. In Macie's young life, she chose to be an organ donor and will help countless other families.
This is the hardest thing a family ever has to deal with and no one ever prepares for the death of the child especially one taken so young...
We have a lot of things to deal with right now and any help would be greatly appreciated and know Macie would be there to give everyone big hugs.
Kelly, Matt, Ethan and Family