Alyssa Shepherd
Alyssa Shepherd

ROCHESTER – Alyssa Shepherd, 25, was found guilty on all five counts Friday by a jury in Fulton County Superior Court.

Shepherd was convicted of three counts of reckless homicide, Level 5 felonies; reckless driving causing bodily injury, a Class A misdemeanor; and criminal recklessness, a Level 6 felony.

The jury decided Shepherd’s guilt in 2-1/2 hours. When the verdicts were read, the family of the victims shouted “yes” and sobbed. Shepherd’s family also cried.

Shepherd faces up to 21-1/2 years in prison and will be sentenced by Judge Greg Heller at 1 p.m. Dec. 18. Heller allowed Shepherd to remain free on bail until her sentencing.

After the verdict, the parents of Alivia Stahl and Mason and Xzavier Ingle spoke about the verdict outside of the courthouse.

“They made the right decision. There’s no reason why you don’t slow down for a bus. Flashing lights are red. You should know what that means. Everybody knows what that means. Our 6-year-old sons knew what flashing red lights mean. It’s an amazing feeling to know that this is over. We still have the sentencing, so me and my wife are gonna relax and just try to build ourselves back up and get to that day and hope everything goes the way it should that day,” Shane Ingle said.

The real reward would be seeing my kids right now. But this verdict is so important for everybody because this was a national case. Everybody’s listening, so I want everybody to know when you get behind the wheel, you are held accountable for your vehicle. You need to pay attention. This verdict is for all the children, even the children that got killed that same week my children did because of the same selfish reasons Alyssa Shepherd chose that day, and we’re just taking a stand and we’re gonna celebrate that she’s finally being held accountable and we’ll wait for sentencing. That’ll be the real one.”

Michael Stahl said the verdict brings a little bit of closure and justice for his daughter.

“Hopefully, this will set a precedent that our society is not going to tolerate passing school buses. They will be held accountable,” Stahl said. “My daughter doesn’t get to experience life.” He said he doesn’t feel bad for Shepherd because she’s now been found guilty.

Brittany Ingle said she will fight for legislation that will change allowing someone who commits a crime like to still be able to keep their driver’s license. Ingle said during her testimony she looked Shepherd straight in the eyes from one mother to another mother and that Shepherd had no remorse.

“She acted like my kids were in her way and we ruined her life,” she said. “She didn’t realize she just wiped out my entire family. That person has no soul.”

The Ingles expressed disappointment in Shepherd’s 45-day extended sentencing and said they don’t think it’s fair she will get to spend the upcoming holidays with her own children and family. They also said there is nothing Shepherd could say to them at this point that would make them change their mind. They think the 21-1/2 years is not enough time for her to go to prison.

“Our boys were 6, my stepdaughter was 9,” Shane Ingle said. “You’re gonna put 21 years on three beautiful lives?”

Brittany Ingle said she expects Shepherd to get the maximum sentence and if she gets “a slap on the wrist, I won’t put up with that.”

Prosecutors Mike Marrs and Rachel Arndt celebrated the state’s victory after the verdict.

“In the end, the facts of the case were such that we felt we had to prosecute it. We weren’t able to get any kind of a plea agreement so we went forward with the trial,” Marrs said.

“Biggest thing about it was the total lack of braking, the amount of distance covered and seeing something in the roadway on a Tuesday morning when it’s school time and not slowing down and just barreling into it we felt like was just unacceptable. ...  so I’m happy with the outcome from that extent, but there really are no winners in a case like this because you can’t bring the kids back but you do feel some relief for the family,” Marrs said.

“You hope that you can do some good and help keep people safe and I think that’s what we kind of kept in the back of our minds as we were going through this process and we worked hard. We had a lot of resources behind us we had a lot of support and that paid off, ultimately,” Arndt said.

Marrs said he doesn’t plan on advocating for the maximum sentence, but he will have to speak with the family and see what a reasonable sentence could be.