VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – Following guilty pleas earlier this year on charges of involuntary manslaughter and DUI, a judge sentenced Leevonte Mullen, 24, to five years and 11 months in prison.

The victim in the case was his 25-year-old passenger Akili McGruder, Mullen’s first cousin.

A toxicologist testified that Mullen’s blood alcohol level was .184, more than twice the legal limit, along with evidence of marijuana.

Mullen was driving westbound in the middle of the night on I-264 in July of last year. He failed to make the exit at Independence Boulevard, and his Hyundai Sonata went down an embankment, overturned and killed McGruder.

The victim’s mother and Mullen’s aunt, Stephanie Boone, pleaded with the judge to have mercy on her nephew.

Mullen had a prior record for a 2016 robbery, bringing a gun to Green Run High School in 2017, and breaking into a car to steal a watch in 2018.

Boone testified that McGruder was a good influence on his cousin, helping him get a job in retail. “I’ll keep Leevonte on the right track,” Boone recalled her son saying about his younger cousin.

But Judge Stephen Mahan said what happened on the highway that night was a bad outcome that was 100% foreseeable — even though there was no intent.

“Some behavior is so reckless as to be criminal,” Mahan said prior to sentencing. He sentenced Mullen to five years 11 months on the DUI and manslaughter charges, and added on two more years for violating probation relating to his criminal past.