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Kalamazoo bike killer sentenced to equivalent of life in prison

Charles Pickett Jr.
Kalamazoo County Sheriff's Office
Mug shot of Charles Pickett Jr.

Charles Pickett Jr. was sentenced to a minimum of 40 years in prison for his role in a car crash that left five cyclists dead and four injured. 

The Battle Creek man was heavily intoxicated with muscle relaxers and methanphetamines at the time of the June 2016 crash, according to toxicology reports. 

Pickett was found guilty of five counts of second degree murder, five counts of operating while intoxicated causing death, and five counts of operating while intoxicated causing injury. 

Pickett gave a tearful apology for his actions, which he claims to not remember, after hearing from two victims and two relatives of victims. 

Madeline Bradley, the daughter of Deborah Bradley who was killed in the crash, says she feels conflicted about the sentencng. 

"Ultimately the result is good, but in the end it does nothing for me. Nothing will bring her back," Bradley said. 

Bradley was only five days out of high school when Pickett's pickup truck took her mother's life. 

Paul Gobble, a victim who was injured by the crash, says he's glad to be done with Pickett and that he still rides his bike.

"Tomorrow night is our weekly Tuesday ride and I'll be there. I'm looking forward to it," Gobble said. 

This post has been updated to reflect the correct minimum number of years Pickett Jr. could serve

Bryce Huffman was Michigan Radio’s West Michigan Reporter and host of Same Same Different. He is currently a reporter for Bridge Detroit.
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