Victim’s family furious after judge moves sentence in Bellbrook teens’ deaths

Jesse Whitaker, 18, pleaded guilty to all 8 counts; including, three counts of vehicular homicide, three counts of vehicular manslaughter, and two traffic violations. (WDTN Photo/Kris Sproles)

XENIA, Ohio (WDTN)- A Greene County Juvenile Court Judge has transferred the sentencing of the Bellbrook teen who was behind the wheel when three of his classmates were killed to another county.

Judge Robert Hutcheson signed the order Thursday to move Jesse Whitaker’s sentencing to Franklin County Juvenile Court.

Court officials told 2 NEWS that it was moved because that is where Whitaker now lives.

The now 18-year-old changed his plea from not guilty to guilty Wednesday.

He is charged with eight counts, including; three counts vehicular homicide, three counts of vehicular manslaughter and failure to control.

Whitaker was 17-years-old at the time of the deadly crash so he was charged as a juvenile.

Investigators say he was driving a truck on Wagner Road in Sugarcreek Township in November 2012 when he lost control and hit a tree, killing three teens – Julianna Hawk, 14, Sophie Kerrigan, 17, and Skylar Kooken, 16.

Whitaker faces up to nine months behind bars, as well as fines, community service and license suspension.

Julianna’s aunt Lisa Sikorski tells me the change of venue is frustrating for her family.

“Why are making it easier on his part when that’s part of the sentence?  That’s part of the punishment. Get a taxi and come out here.  If your license will be taken away; take a bus, borrow rides, get rides to get out here, walk, hitchhike; I don’t care what you have to do.  It’s just not fair to us,” said Sikorski.

No sentencing date has been set. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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