MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - An 18-year-old Milwaukee man pleaded no contest Thursday to killing a suburban couple in a drunk driving hit-and-run crash on New Year’s Day.
Kelly Duke was supposed to go on trial next week on 9 charges for the deaths 61-year-old Ed Thaves of New Berlin and his 52-year-old wife Jean.
But Thursday morning, Duke struck a plea deal – and 5 charges were dropped when he was convicted of two counts of drunken homicide, one count of hit-and-run while causing death, and causing harm while driving with a suspended license.
Duke faces up to 45 years in prison when he’s sentenced on January 11th.
Police said Duke sped through a Milwaukee intersection in a stolen car, and slashed the roof off the vehicle driven by Ed Thaves. He fled to his home, and was arrested a short time later.
Thaves’ son Edwin told the Journal Sentinel that Duke needs to be brought to justice – and if he’s not, the, “epidemic” of drunk driving will keep plaguing the community.
Thaves also asked state lawmakers to pass minimum mandatory sentences for drunk drivers. He said it would prevent, “activist judges from letting sympathy get in the way of common sense and public safety.”