WINSTON-SALEM, NC (The Winston-Salem Journal) – It was never a question whether Ivan Jonathan Prudente-Anorve was guilty of causing the deaths of two men when he drove through a flashing red light at an intersection and plowed into another car.
A Forsyth County jury had to decide whether Prudente-Anorve was guilty of second-degree murder or involuntary manslaughter. The jury of six men and six women took only about 30 minutes Friday to decide that it was murder when Prudente-Anorve’s actions in the early morning hours of Oct. 1, 2016, led to the deaths of Cameron Marc Francis, 21, and Marquice Gaines, 22. The verdict came after a week-long trial that started with jury selection on Monday.
Francis and Gaines died just days from their birthdays. Francis would have turned 22 on Oct. 4, 2016, and Gaines died Oct. 8, 2016, five days from his 23rd birthday.
Judge David Hall of Forsyth Superior Court gave Prudente-Anorve two consecutive sentences for each count of second-degree murder. The sentences came to a total of 33 years and four months to 42 years in prison.
Prudente-Anorve apologized to the families of Gaines and Francis before he was sentenced.
“I’m sorry and only God knows how sorry I am,” he said, tears running down his face. “I lay in my bed, crying over this … I wish it happened to me, not to them.”
Hall said he didn’t question Prudente-Anorve’s sincerity in his apology, but he also noted that when Prudente-Anorve climbed out of his Chevrolet Trailblazer that had overturned in the crash, he didn’t ask about Gaines and Francis or the two other passengers in the Toyota Corolla that he hit — Regan Thomas Starkie and Jude Zappa Donadio.
“Call my girl,” Hall said, referring to what Prudente-Anorve told Vannoi Jefferson, who had helped pull him out of his vehicle. Hall said Prudente-Anorve’s first priority was himself, not helping the people in the other vehicle, including Gaines and Francis.
“I didn’t hear, ‘Is anyone hurt?’” he said.
According to testimony from the trial, the crash happened at 2:30 a.m. Oct. 1, 2016, at the intersection of Vargrave and Waughtown streets.
Officer Stephen Everhart, who conducted the accident reconstruction, testified that Prudente-Anorve was traveling north on Vargrave Street. Francis was driving west on Waughtown Street.
Based on data collected from Prudente-Anorve’s car, Prudente-Anorve was the driver and he kept his foot on the gas pedal up to one second before the crash. Everhart said Prudente-Anorve never applied his brakes.
Prudente-Anorve’s vehicle T-boned Francis’ car, with the impact being on Francis’ driver’s side. Francis’ car ended up by a guardrail, and Francis was pinned inside the car. Winston-Salem police officers and other emergency personnel had to get Francis out of the car.
Francis had fractures in his head, chest and pelvic area and other injuries. He died of multiple injuries, according to Dr. Patrick Lantz, a Forsyth County medical examiner. Gaines died from blunt-force injuries and had multiple areas of bleeding on the brain that resulted from his head banging against the car during the crash, Dr. Jerri McLemore, a Forsyth County medical examiner, testified.