CASTLE ROCK, Colo. (CBS4) – The man responsible for a crash in 2018 that killed a couple in Franktown was sentenced to 50 years in prison on Thursday. Skylar Pagano was under the substance of methamphetamines and marijuana in May 2018 when he crashed head-on into a car and killed Julee Davis and Festus Poyner. Their 2-year-old son, Cadence, who was in his car seat, suffered nearly 100 fractures but has made a full recovery.
Pagano was driving a stolen truck at the time of the crash. He was on felony probation when he killed Poyner and Davis, as well as on bond awaiting sentencing in another felony.
After a week long trial last year, a Douglas County jury found Pagano, of Thornton, guilty on 17 charges including vehicular homicide.
Pagano received two 15-year sentences for the death of Poyner and Davis, and two 10-year sentences for injuries to Cadence and a passenger in Pagano’s vehicle.
The couple’s family now shares custody of Cadence as well as his little sister Adaleigh, who was not in the car at the time.
“We told him that we hope he finds himself with God while he’s in prison. He knows that we do not hate him and we forgive him. We got to meet some of his family today and that was great healing,” said Jayme Davis, the sister of victim, Julee Davis.
The large extended family of Julee and Festus have custody of couple’s children, Cadence and his younger sister, Adaleigh, who was not in the car at the time.
Pagano was under the influence of methamphetamine at the time of he crashed a stolen truck, head-on into the couples car.
“Selfish is not a big enough word for what this killer did. He took the lives of a 2-year-old boy’s parents. He shattered the little boy’s body and the lives of his grandparents and extended family,” said District Attorney George Brauchler. “But here is all you need to know about this guy: A month after his meth-fueled collision, when asked by law enforcement about killing two people, this amoral, self-loving destroyer of a young family said, ‘People die every day. I don’t care about them, I only care about myself.’ And that is all. No prison term would be too long for him.”
Cadence sustained more than 100 fractures and wasn’t expected survive.
“That first photo of him in a cast?” Jayme held back tears and continued, “It’s the hardest because nobody has the right to intoxicate themselves and drive.”
Jayme said while Pagano didn’t say anything in court, he cried most of the time.
“He’s sitting there now, two years sober and he realizes. I hope he realizes,” she said.
She may have lost her sister, but Jayme believes her nephew Cadence has a bigger message to carry on; even if he doesn’t realize it.
“He keeps me going! And he gives a lot of people hope and hope is an amazing thing to have nowadays because it’s a tough world out here.”
“We got what we wanted. We got justice for them — for those who can’t speak and be here with us and for Cadence,” said Jayme Davis, the sister of Julee Davis.
“It’s super healing, I think for all of us because Cadence shouldn’t be here with us, and to watch him grow and be as happy as he can? I think it gives us all strength,” said Davis.
Cadence is now three-and-a-half, and while he doesn’t fully grasp what happened, his family puts it in terms that make perfect sense to him. If you ask him where his parents are, he will tell you they are in heaven with Jesus.
The verdict more than a year-and-a-half later was the outcome the family was hoping for, but the pain will always be there.
“Festus always talked about building a car for Cadence when he turned 16. Julee won’t be there to see her get married. It’s little things that you think about,” she said.
Despite losing her sister, Jayme Davis says she can forgive. She plans to address Pagano at his sentencing,
“There’s some things I’m going to say to him that I’m going to think about the next month and a half. But I forgive him… I do. I mean in my heart, I have to because I can’t let that eat me up.”
While seeing the children grow has helped the family heal, they also credit the kindness of strangers. Julee and Festus had just moved to Colorado and barely had time to settle in before they were killed.
“I don’t believe you have to know somebody to care. It’s just one of those things,” Davis said. “All the people on the scene, there were many witnesses that saw things people shouldn’t have to see and those that helped? We thank you.”
That includes everyone from members of the Franktown Fire Department to a passerby named Guy.
“He was the one who pretty much brought Cadence back to us. He got him out of the car seat. He knew what he was doing. There were off-duty nurses who put blankets around Cadence — there was a lot of love at that scene,” she said.
The families of Julee and Festus hope their story reminds others of the consequences of drinking and driving.