WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Thomas Grooms will spend decades behind bars. It took jurors just a couple of hours to reach a verdict.
It’s been a long week for both the Doolittle and Grooms families and friends, but it did not take the jury from Onslow County long to reach a decision.
The jury of eight women and four men found Grooms guilty of two counts of second degree murder, two counts of felony death by motor vehicle, one count of reckless driving and one count of open container in the accident that killed Trey and David Doolittle last April. The judge sentenced Grooms to 24-30 years in jail for his crimes.
After the verdict, Grooms read a letter he had written to the Doolittle family. It was the first time during the trial he showed any type of emotion.
“What I did that night is not me,” he said. “It’s not what I do. It’s not the way I live my life. I feel so much regret, sorrow and guilt and responsibility, sadness and hurt for all the suffering that I’ve caused the Doolittle family and friends. I will punish myself for the rest of my life.”
Trey Doolittle’s mom Joy says she feels justice was served, but this still does not bring back her son or ex-husband David.
“Happy is not the word that would describe it,” she said. “I think relief just that it’s over, and for me to know that he’ll be off the streets for a long time is enough.”
We tried to talk to Grooms’s family and his attorney after the sentencing, but they did not want to comment. The attorney did say in court he would appeal the verdict.
Grooms said in his letter that he hopes the Doolittle family can someday forgive him, and that he will work every day to make sure people learn from his mistakes.