EASTON — The 20-year-old man accused of striking and killing an Oxford pedestrian in July 2019 pleaded guilty to negligent manslaughter by vehicle on Monday, Nov. 29.
Talbot County Circuit Judge Stephen Kehoe sentenced D’ante M. Kane, 20, to six years in jail and suspended all but 18 months. The judge also credited Kane with time served for the six days he spent in the county jail in January and February 2020. The state entered a nolle prosequi to dismiss the other charges in the case.
The charges stemmed from Kane’s role in the July 2019 death of Edith Beglin, 71, of Oxford. Beglin was trying to walk across the road to the Oxford firehouse when Kane, driving a 2005 Dodge Neon, fatally struck and killed her at a speed three times greater than the posted 25 mph speed limit. Months of investigation by the Talbot County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the high speed.
Kane’s father Roland Scott testified on behalf of the 20-year-old at the plea hearing, but first expressed his condolences to Beglin’s family, saying he and Kane were open to dialogue on the incident.
Scott told the court that Kane had a difficult childhood, a significant portion of which was spent in foster homes and mental health facilities. He explained that while Kane was already dealing with built-up trauma from his younger years, the 2019 incident in Oxford was the animal that broke his son’s back.
He motioned to Kane, who was rocking back and forth slightly while seated at the defense counsel table.
“(He’s a) young boy trying to fill a man’s shoes,” Scott said, saying that Kane is still young and learning.
Kane was just a few months past his 18th birthday when Beglin was killed. Scott added that his goal is to get Kane into a mental health facility after he finishes serving his sentence so he can continue to process his trauma.
Defense attorney Christine Dufour also spoke on Kane’s character, placing an emphasis on how he immediately got out of his car to try to help Beglin. She added that deputies responding to the scene were concerned that Kane would need medical attention himself due to shock.
Following the accident, Kane’s mental health suffered greatly. Dufour said that Kane attempted suicide twice in the months following Beglin’s death.
“He lives that day every day,” she said.
She also gave more details on Kane’s upbringing, sharing that he’d been in four foster homes and had been hospitalized four times for mental illness. He was diagnosed with major depressive disorder and abandonment issues. However, despite significant roadblocks, Kane is trying to get his life on track by moving forward and being more productive, Dufour said.
“I know, and I hope he knows he has a future,” she said.
When addressing the court, Kane first gave his condolences for Beglin. He emphasized how the 2019 incident changed his everyday life and how he operates as a person. If he could go back, he would have done things differently, he said.
“(I) think about Ms. Edie every day,” he said.
Kane added that he’s working on his coping skills and talks to a therapist as regularly as he can. He’s also in a Narcotics Anonymous program, and earned his GED at the urging of his father.
Before handing down the sentence, Kehoe commented on Kane’s demeanor, saying that the 20-year-old probably feels more remorse than most other individuals. He told Kane that there’s nothing wrong with having mental health issues, and it’s not his fault that he has to deal with the issues.
Kane’s remorse and need to deal with mental health issues mitigated the severity of the sentence to be handed down, Kehoe said. He sentenced Kane to six years and suspended all but 18 months, with credit for six days served. Kehoe also permitted Kane to continue to be held in a detention center in Anne Arundel County while he waits for the disposition for other charges accrued there.
Following his release on the negligent manslaughter charge, Kane will be on supervised probation for four years.
Before dismissing the court, Kehoe reminded Kane that the sentence was not a prescription for failure, but rather an opportunity for success.
Natalie Jones is a reporter at The Star Democrat in Easton covering crime, health, education and Talbot County Council. You can reach her with questions, comments or tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.