Court

Amy Clampitt was sentenced to 40 years in prison Thursday for the death of her boyfriend Jimmy Dugan.

Amy Clampitt was sentenced to 40 years in prison Thursday for the death of her boyfriend Jimmy Dugan.

Clampitt plead for mercy before Fifth Judicial Circuit Court Judge Steve Perryman levied a sentence finally saying she was responsible for Dugan’s death despite testifying otherwise at her trial earlier this month.

“I stand before you here today begging for your understanding and mercy,” Clampitt told Perryman before he issued a sentence Thursday. “I am finally accepting responsibility for something I have been running from for more than two years.”

Clampitt admitted to having years of issues with drugs.

“All these years I thought I was only hurting myself with my addiction,” Clampitt said. “The No. 1 thing I swore I would never do is let my addiction harm someone else. I now know I was hurting everyone who loved me — family, kids and ultimately Jimmy. I understand I have a penance to pay and I’m ready to do it. I lied in court. It was selfish but the only way I knew to survive another day. I am so sorry for the pain I have caused this family.”

Clampitt said the January 2017 wreck sent her into a spiral.

“Since the wreck, my life has been in a downward spiral more so than any of my 37 years of life, 20 of which as an addict,” Clampitt said. “It was a terrifying, never-ending nightmare.”

During the trial Clampitt was arrested for possession of a controlled substance, something she attributes to the downward spiral that started when she learned of Dugan’s death while recovering in the hospital.

“I was on morphine when I left the hospital,” Clampitt said. “I began to self-inflict punishment every day because of my guilt. Why did he die and I lived? 

“I started to self-medicate with valium and morphine. I have since put myself where I have been mentally and physically abused. I pushed my family away.”

Clampitt said her addictions, her denial of the wreck and her issues caused Dugan’s death. 

“I have to face reality Jimmy is gone because of me,” Clampitt said. “He was a big part of my future. My children loved him. I loved him. He gave me hope to have a stable home.”

Dugan’s sister Erenstine Dugan spoke to Perryman as well about the loss her children and mother have encountered since Dugan’s death.

“His nieces and nephews talk about Uncle Jimmy every day,” Erenstine Dugan said. “He used to play with them a lot. My girls miss him dearly. There is no more Thanksgiving or Christmas with him.”

The State of Alabama contended at trial earlier this month Clampitt was behind the wheel of an automobile in January 2017 and was trying to avoid a traffic stop in the Eagle Creek area when she and Dugan were ejected from a car traveling at a high rate of speed at the intersection of Concord Road and Highway 49. Dugan was pronounced dead at the scene and Clampitt was flown to a Columbus hospital for her injuries.

District attorneys Kevin Hall and Mike Weldon called witnesses who put the wheel of the automobile in the hands of Clampitt who was running from a traffic stop.

“I was traveling north on Highway 49,” Tallapoosa County deputy sheriff Win Knight said at trial. I met a vehicle going (more than) 70 mph in a 55. I watched it pass by and noticed a taillight busted in my rearview mirror. I turned around on it and tried to execute a traffic stop.”

Knight testified he could not catch up to the vehicle as it left the area just south of Eagle Creek Baptist Church near midnight. He said he saw it turn on DW Road without using a turn signal and he followed catching up to it at the intersection of DW and Concord roads where he turned on his lights, siren and body camera. 

Knight said the vehicle turned right onto Concord Road reaching speeds in excess of 90 mph in a 45 mph section. Knight said he slowed his pursuit before crossing Gardner Dairy Road knowing it was a blind intersection and with an intersection with Highway 49 coming up. 

Knight testified he saw the vehicle again shortly after it crashed at the intersection of Concord Road and Highway 49.

Clampitt took the stand in the trial testifying Dugan was at the wheel and she pleaded for Dugan to pull into a driveway so they could swap places.

Court documents show Clampitt has two previous felony convictions, the manufacturing of methamphetamines and chemical endangerment of a child. 

Perryman agreed with the state’s motion to sentence Clampitt outside of the guidelines under a habitual offender status based on her previous felony convictions. Perryman could have sentenced Clampitt to life in prison but levied a 40-year prison sentence.

Clampitt has 42 days to appeal the conviction if she chooses.