Holly Ridge man pleads to involuntary manslaughter in Marine’s death

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — On Tuesday, William Keith Genens, 58 of Holly Ridge, entered a plea of guilty to involuntary manslaughter and reckless driving.

On June 27, First Lieutenant Justice Regine Stewart, 25 of Camp Lejeune, was running along Highway 50 in Pender County. Genens, who was driving a Ford 150 truck, struck and killed Stewart, who was believed to die upon impact. Homeowners near the crash site heard the crash and came outside to speak to Genens, who pulled over after the crash and was attempting to wave down a passing motorist. At this time, the homeowners informed Genens that he should call 911, but he refused and instead called his adult children to get assistance for himself. Drivers’ tried to help the victim but were not successful.

According to a release from the district attorney’s office, the investigation that followed failed to develop sufficient evidence to meet the standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Genens was impaired at the time of the crash. In light of this, a charge of involuntary manslaughter was the highest charge that could be pursued under the law and this set of facts.

Judge Frank Jones sentenced Genens to a split sentence of 16-29 months suspended, plus 120 days active in jail. He was ordered to serve the first 60 days immediately and will serve the remaining 60 days during December 2021 and 2022, the month of First Lt. Stewart’s birthday. Genens will also be placed on 60 months of supervised probation. Finally, as a condition of this plea, Judge Jones ordered that Genens must, in person or by video, promote driver education.

Categories: Local, NC, NC-Carolinas, News, Pender

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