WORCESTER, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — The man convicted of manslaughter in the 2016 death of Massachusetts State Police Trooper Thomas Clardy was sentenced to five to seven years in prison Thursday in Worcester Superior Court.
David Njuguna, 33, stood by his attorney staring straight ahead as Judge Janet Kenton-Walker read the sentence.
Prosecutors claimed Njuguna, was high when he struck Trooper Clardy's cruiser on the Mass Pike in Charlton on March 16, 2016, killing him. Clardy's defense claimed it was a medical emergency, and not marijuana, that caused Njuguna to speed and crash into Clardy's cruiser.
Clardy left behind his wife, Reese, and seven children.
Njuguna's attorney told Kenton-Walker his client was "a good man who did a bad thing."
Last week, Njuguna was found guilty after Kenton-Walker said she was convinced that Njuguna had operated his vehicle recklessly; Njuguna was acquitted, however, of the charge of motor vehicle homicide, because Kenton-Walker said there wasn't enough evidence to conclude he was high at the time of the crash.
Before Njuguna learned his sentence, members of Clardy's family read powerful victim impact statements. Reese Clardy said life as her family knew it was forever changed.
"That day, when I was told my husband was killed, was the day my life stood still," she said.
She said in her statement that her husband had his whole life ahead of him, and wore his uniform proudly.
"I struggle to find the right words to describe our feelings with the loss of Tom," she said. "To be able to give him true justice of who he was as a man and what he meant to us, to completely articulate the impact that Tom's death has had on our lives, is truly overwhelming ... words alone cannot describe the loss, the emptiness, and the pain I feel every day, that we all feel every day without Tom here."
The court also heard from the Clardy children.
"I was 14 years old when I lost my father, and it haunts me every day," said Clardy's daughter Gabriella in her statement. "My dad was my hero. My dad made us laugh, never caring what others thought."
Tyler Clardy spoke about dealing with his father's loss.
"There is a certain loss one feels in losing a parent," he said. "It is immense at first, sudden, and drastic, the sadness often overwhelming. However, over time, as most things do, the formidable sadness begins to recede, yet remaining ever-present."
WBZ NewsRadio's Kim Tunnicliffe (@KimWBZ) reports