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Man sentenced to 15-years-to-life for murder in connection with DUI crash

Posted at 3:29 PM, Aug 05, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-05 23:30:25-04

DRAPER, Utah -- A man convicted for causing a crash while driving under the influence in Draper in 2014 could serve up to life in prison after he was sentenced in court Wednesday for his role in a 7-car collision that left a woman dead and her teen daughter in critical condition.

Bill Robert Thompson was sentenced Wednesday to serve two sentences consecutively: a 15-years-to-life sentence for murder and 0-5 years for charges that include aggravated assault, DUI and reckless driving.

Attorneys for Thompson stated they plan to appeal and seek a reduced charge as opposed to murder.

"This was a tragic mistake, but he should be held accountable, and we are going to appeal it and argue it to the court of appeals and Supreme Court that the charges should be amended to automobile homicide," Attorney Rudy Bautista said.

The charges stem from a crash on May 8, 2014 that occurred after Thompson allegedly fled his residence following a fight with his live-in girlfriend. The man was intoxicated and was accused of causing a minor crash on Pony Express Road in Draper before fleeing that crash scene and ultimately causing a 7-car pileup when he ran a red light at 12300 South and Lone Peak Parkway.

Susan Madsen, 43, suffered fatal injuries, and her 13-year-old daughter suffered critical injuries in that crash. Four others were also injured.

Thompson appeared in court Wednesday for the sentencing, where he apologized to the families of the victims.

"I can honestly say, that wasn't me that day," he said. "I'm ashamed and embarrassed by my actions."

Madsen's husband, Jon, was also present to testify.

"She's gone," Jon Madsen said. "My kids will never be able to see her again their whole life."

Madsen added that his daughter, who made a full recovery, still feels embarrassed about the scars she suffered in the crash. He said he believed Thompson showed no remorse in court and asked the judge to give Thompson life in prison.

Other family members, like Susan's sister, spoke at the hearing.

"On May 8th, my life was destroyed," the sibling said.

She also added: "The choices we make in life affect other people. Susan always took responsibility for her choices."

Prosecuting attorney Sandi Johnson alleged Thompson had a history of speeding and also a habit of drinking.

"He was drinking two pints of hard liquor a day," the attorney alleged, adding that Thompson had admitted to drinking every day from October through January and admitted to driving while intoxicated.

Johnson said those factors mean Thompson was in fact acting in character on the day he caused the fatal crash. She said driving while drunk carries heavy consequences.

"As you heard from them today, it's devastated their family," Johnson said. "Drinking and driving devastates families every day."

After delivering the sentence, the judge had some stern words for Thompson.

"Their loss is tremendous," he said of the victims and their families. "I believe you understand that...Your family, sir, is broken--and that is the result of your conduct."