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Man sentenced in death of best friends

Jerry Cochran took the stand before being sentenced to 35 years in prison. (Source KSWO) Jerry Cochran took the stand before being sentenced to 35 years in prison. (Source KSWO)

WALTERS, OK (KSWO) -The man who killed two women last year while driving drunk on a Cotton County highway was sentenced for his crime Wednesday.

After changing his plea on two counts of first-degree manslaughter Wednesday morning from a no contest to guilty, Jerry Cochran was sentenced to 35 years in prison for killing two 70-year-old women, Annegret Mondey and Sherrie Sheppard, who were best friends since elementary school.

In July 2015, Cochran was driving on I-44, just north of Randlett, in the wrong direction when he hit their car, causing it to catch fire.

Five family members of the two women took the stand and said their lives were turned upside down with the loss of their loved ones, and that they wanted him to receive the maximum sentence for what he did.

Sheppard’s daughter, Tammie Welsh, says she doesn’t think there is any sort of justice for a tragedy like this one.

"I think a verdict was delivered, but I don't think justice is ever served in cases like these," Welsh said.

Welsh says she doesn't have any peace yet, but she hopes others in her family find peace.

"I hope there is closure for my dad. I think I can handle a lot more than he can," Welsh said.

When Welsh took the stand, she said her dad has lost 80 pounds since his wife's death just two days before their 49th anniversary.

While Vicki Ashcraft didn't lose family in the crash, she did lose her good friend and roommate. She says while justice was served, she's still angry.

"Thirty-five years is a good start. We're hoping that he stays there for 35, and he's not eligible for parole. Or he...he doesn't deserve it," Ashcraft said.

While her words may seem harsh to some, Ashcraft says the man who took her friend's life is paying for what he did with a far lesser price.

"Jerry's family can still go see him, they can write to him, they can call him. We have a jar of ashes sitting on our table that's our Anna. We don't get to see her…she doesn't get to talk back to us. So, that's what we have left," Ashcraft said.

An Oklahoma Highway Patrolman testified that the night of the crash, Cochran’s blood alcohol level was more than three times over the legal limit. He also said Cochran was speeding when he crashed into the women's car.

Copyright 2016 KSWO. All rights reserved.

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