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Published: Friday, 7/1/2005

Prison time pared in teen's death

A Sylvania man's two-year prison sentence for an aggravated vehicular homicide conviction for the 2004 death of a Springfield High School freshman was reduced by a year yesterday by a Lucas County Common Pleas Court judge.

Michael Gintoli, 23, who served eight months at the Toledo Correctional Institution, was ordered released from that facility, then was directed by Judge Charles Doneghy to serve the next four months at local lockups.

In revising Gintoli's sentence, Judge Doneghy ordered him to serve two months at the Lucas County Correctional Treatment Facility, then serve two months in the county's work-release program.

Gintoli also must submit to regular drug testing, and the judge is to receive regular reports from the probation department during the period Gintoli is on probation.

Judge Doneghy said he will have five years to monitor Gintoli's behavior with the imposition of community control, rather than what a two-year prison sentence allows.

"I have much more confidence in the strict controls I have with an immediate prison sentence if my conditions are not followed," the judge said.

Gintoli was convicted for the death 15-year-old Jessica Humphreys, an outstanding student, artist, and athlete at Springfield who was walking with a friend along Bancroft Street in Springfield Township on May 21, 2004, when his car careened off the road and struck her.

Ohio Highway Patrol troopers found a hollowed-out cigar containing marijuana on the floor of the defendant's car after the accident. Gintoli told authorities he smoked marijuana two days before the accident.

At the time of his arrest, Gintoli tested positively for marijuana. However, toxicology experts were not able to determine if he was under the influence of the drug when he killed young Humphreys.

Gintoli originally faced up to five years in prison.

Jessica's mother, Pamela Humphreys, who was in court yesterday when Gintoli's prison term was trimmed, said afterward she would have preferred the two-year sentence be kept in place. The new sentence does order Gintoli to serve five years of community control, she said.

"That is five years he can't mess up or he will have to go back to prison," Ms. Humphreys said. "I am sure he doesn't want to do that."

Her daughter's death has been devastating not only to her but to her daughter's friends. Ms. Humphreys made a short video about her daughter's death that was shown recently to Springfield High School students.

On May 21, the day of the school's junior-senior prom and the one-year anniversary of her death, a dozen students wearing tuxedos and dresses visited Jessica's grave along with her mother.

"Nothing is going to bring her back," Ms. Humphreys said.



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