An Alabama neurosurgeon who was convicted last year of killing a medical student in a high-speed drunk-driving crash has been sentenced to prison.
On April 21, a judge ordered Jonathan Nakhla, a former doctor at Mobile Infirmary, serve 25 years behind bars for murder in connection with the death of University of South Alabama medical student Samantha Thomas almost three years ago, WKRG reported.
On Aug. 1, 2020, Nakhla was behind the wheel of an Audi convertible sports car around 12:30 a.m. and driving as fast as 138 m.p.h. when he lost control of the vehicle with Thomas in the passenger seat and crashed into a ditch, prosecutors said.
Thomas was reportedly partially decapitated in the deadly incident. According to investigators, Nakhla claimed at the time that a vehicle turned in front of him, causing him to veer off the road.
An investigation determined that before the deadly crash, Nakhla and Thomas had been drinking together at the pool of their Mobile apartment complex, where each lived. At trial, a toxicologist testified Nakhla’s blood-alcohol level may have been around 0.11 and 0.125 when the incident occurred, according to WKRG.
At his sentencing, Nakhla apologized to Thomas’ family.
“I am so sorry for the loss of your daughter,” Nakhla said, WKRG reported. “I think about her, pray for her, pray for you. It is difficult to look over there just cause of all the devastation that occurred. No family should have to endure what you’re going through. I’m a father too. I think about my own children and it brings me back to you and I just, I truly am sorry.”
The victim’s sister, Jennifer Thomas, later told WKRG that “nothing’s ever going to make this right.”
“Nothing’s ever going to bring Sam back,” she said. “It’s something we’re always going to have to live with. And you know, there was a lot of talk today about everyone else knowing his remorse and how sorry he felt. That’s the first time we’ve ever heard that.”