Nastasi Gets Seven Years

Nastasi Gets Seven Years A man who killed three restaurant employees when he crashed a Cadillac into a McDonald's restaurant was sentenced Friday to seven years in prison.

Frank R. Nastasi Sr., 54, of Haddon Heights, pleaded guilty in September to charges of vehicular homicide in the deaths of Joann Bowen, Cynthia Molino and Nancy King.

On Friday, he said he regretted his actions.

"I was suffering from a mental illness that precipitated this event and I'd like to apologize once more to the families," Nastasi said. "If I could reverse the time I would never have made this decision to do this."

In his plea agreement, Nastasi had accepted a 10-year prison sentence. The judge on Friday shortened that sentence by three years after weighing factors such as Nastasi's lack of a prior criminal record and also that he seemed unlikely to commit another crime.

Nastasi will be eligible for parole after nearly six years.

A friend of the court read a letter from Molinos' daughter. Molino had become the store's manager shortly before her death.

"Still, the pain is too real and too fresh in my mind to let me heal," the friend of the court read.

Wayne Bowen, whose wife was killed in the crash, said both the plea agreement and the sentence handed down Friday were too short.

"Did the math myself and that's three years (for each person killed). Thirty years, .25 years I could see that, but 10 years -- I can't live with that," Bowen said.

Authorities said Nastasi was driving as fast as 100 mph when he crashed into the Mount Ephraim restaurant around 4 a.m. on May 15, 2002.

An expert hired by Nastasi's lawyer, though, said the speed was between 42 and 54 mph.

The courtroom was filled during the sentencing, but people who attended declined to comment afterward.

During his plea hearing in September, Nastasi said he awoke about 4 a.m. that day from a dream in which his father was ill. He then decided to drive to his father's home about four blocks away.

"I started speeding up. I was doing probably 50 to 55 miles per hour and I missed his street," Nastasi said. "And I went straight into the McDonald's."

Nastasi, whose family owns a furniture store, initially told investigators that he slammed into the restaurant where his father was a regular in an effort to kill himself.

But Nastasi's lawyer, Charles Nugent Jr., said his client told that story under duress and that it wasn't true.

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Author: Copyright 2004 by NBC10.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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