Effingham vehicular homicide case heads to jury trial - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Effingham mother breaks silence after plea hearing

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An Effingham County teen's vehicular homicide case is heading to a jury trial. Lawyers for Wade Hall were in court Monday morning for a plea hearing. The 19 year old is accused of driving drunk and racing, which lead to the crash that killed his passenger, and best friend, Josh Stafford, 18, last April.

Josh's mother, Vicky Stafford, told WTOC a deal was on the table. Wade Hall was offered 20 years in prison if he plead guilty.

The deal was turned down and now the case will go to trial.

"Good luck with a jury," Stafford told WTOC when asked what she thought while watching it play out in court.

Vicky Stafford hasn't said much to Hall, a person she says she loved like a son, was her son Josh's best friend and also the person soon to be on trial her son's death.

'It would be different if it was a maybe, or I wonder, or hmm, but it happened," Stafford said.

She says she has seen Hall, who has tried to apologize, but not necessarily the apology she is looking for. In her mind, he and his family have placed blame rather than accept responsibility.

"That is exactly the feeling that I get, that he should not be punished for this at all, that he should just be let right back out on the street to possibly do it again," Stafford said. "I want him to man up and admit he killed Josh and maimed three other people. He needs to serve time."

Stafford feels Hall's family, while rightfully standing by his side, have not accepted his role in her son's death.

"I wouldn't running around saying it wasn't his fault, he didn't do it, it was some other driver's fault," Stafford said.

The two families, once close friends, have been torn apart. WTOC spoke to the Hall's last summer.

"My son did not say Josh get in the car, I am fixin' to kill you. He did not," Michelle Hall said.

"He was drinking. He was driving. He crashed. He killed. He maimed. If the tables were turned, my son would be doing the time for what he did," Stafford said.

As she continues to grieve, Stafford, who is also an Effingham County Deputy Sheriff, says she has felt a backlash against her family, and despite memorial's dedicated to her son, in some cases, says his name has been used to defend Hall's alleged actions. 

"There are those who said 'he chose to get in the car.' Did he deserve to die? They say Josh was drinking. Even if he was drinking, he was not in control of that vehicle," she said. "I am his mother, his mother for Christ's sake. Being deputy sheriff is what I do and what I do is try to prevent what happened to my own child. I know my son's six feet underground in a box over there and there is nothing I can do about it," she said.

No date has been set for the trial to begin.

Hall remains in Effingham County Jail on a probation violation. The crash also injured a mother and her three children, who were in another vehicle.

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