The wheels of justice turn slowly. Though its glacial pace often can overwhelm the patience of victims, those wheels do eventually turn.
This past week, on the eve of the second anniversary of the tragic crash that claimed the life of 18-year-old Brandon Layton, a Richmond County grand jury indicted the man police say killed the popular Lakeside High School senior.
District Attorney Danny Craig, who retook the case from Richmond County state court, this past week presented to a grand jury the recently obtained results of toxicology tests on Dr. Mohammad Ali Behzadian. The MCG instructor's wrong-way car collided with Brandon's vehicle on River Watch Parkway on Feb. 28, 2003.
Initial blood-alcohol tests after the accident yielded a level too low for criminal DUI, and Behzadian was charged with just a single, misdemeanor count of second-degree vehicular homicide.
Two long years later, more sophisticated toxicology tests have yielded a different conclusion, and the grand jury has now indicted Behzadian for first- and second-degree vehicular homicide, reckless driving, driving under the influence and driving on the wrong side of a roadway.
It's a far cry from the murder charge Layton's mother, Kathy, called for after the crash. Her emotional response is as understandable as such a charge is unrealistic, and her patience in the ordeal has been as unfathomable as was the loss of her youngest child -- and the community's loss of a fine, promising young man.
There's still more patience needed as court procedures to take their slow and winding course. But at least the wheels are finally beginning to turn, bringing closure in this tragic case one step closer.
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