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US driver who killed five cyclists found guilty of murder

Charles Pickett Jr, who was on drugs when he ploughed into group of riders in Michigan in 2016, faces life in jail

A US motorist who killed five cyclists in Michigan in 2016 faces life imprisonment after being found guilty of five counts of second-degree murder, each punishable by a maximum life sentence.

> Driver who ploughed into Michigan cyclists charged with 5 counts of murder

Charles Pickett Jr was also convicted by a jury in Michigan yesterday of five counts of operating while intoxicated causing death, and four counts of operating while intoxicated causing serious injury, reports woodtv.com.

At his trial, the court heard testimony from a friend of Pickett’s who said that he had taken a number of pills before driving his pick-up truck into a group of cyclists in Cooper Township near Kalamazoo on 7 June 2017, killing five –  Debbie Bradley, Melissa Fevig-Hughes, Tony Nelson, Larry Paulik and Suzanne Sippel.

Following the guilty verdicts, which the jury took four hours to reach, its foreman Nick Meisling told reporters said: "Mr Pickett had several opportunities to stop and pull over and he chose to keep going, which obviously resulted in the death of five people, which is why we came to our verdict."

Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeff Getting commented: "Justice has been served in this case," adding that the judge “will have the discretion to impose a sentence that serves justice."

Kalamazoo County Assistant Prosecutor Michael Kanaby added: "The families [of the victims] are about as relieved as you can get.

"It's been a long process for them. I have to take my hat off to them. They have been outstanding.

“They were pretty much hands off and trusted us to do what we needed to do, which was amazing with all that was going on and how long the process took to get here."

Guy Hughes, whose wife Melissa Fevig-Hughes was one of the victims, said: “I thought it would feel like justice, but not having Melissa here with us and my two daughters not having a mom, it just takes away from that.

“I feel justice was served, but it won’t bring her back," he added.

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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