BRENTWOOD — A Hooksett man was sentenced to five to 12 years in state prison for fatally striking a passenger who fell out of his boat after a day of drinking on Northwood Lake in July 2012.
Eric Cable, 34, apologized to the family of Brendan Yerry Thursday at the close of his two-hour sentencing hearing in Rockingham County Superior Court.
"I haven't started a day or any of my evenings without you in my prayers," Cable said.
But Judge Marguerite Wageling chided him for failing to take responsibility for causing Yerry's death, noting it was a stance that Cable maintained even after a jury convicted him in December of two counts of negligent homicide.
Cable had spent July 14, 2012, drinking with friends on Northwood Lake, ferrying them to a local sandbar with a boat that he wasn't licensed to operate.
"You took no time to care or protect those individuals," Wageling said.
Cable turned his 18-foot Crestliner and collided with a wake while Yerry was illegally seated at the front of the vessel. Yerry, 28, of Hudson fell from the boat, striking the boat's drive and propeller. He died from his injuries.
Yerry's mother, Heather, said in court Thursday that she still struggles to accept her son is gone.
"This is the thing that all mothers have nightmares about," she said. "I will never be whole again. I will never be the person I was before."
After the hearing, she said her family was satisfied with the judge's sentence.
Defense lawyer Peter Anderson argued for a 12-month jail sentence, saying that no good would come of Cable spending any significant amount of time in prison.
He suggested that five years of probation and 200 hours of community service would allow Cable to teach others about the dangers of drinking and driving.
Assistant County Attorney Jerome Blanchard asked the judge to consider Cable's testimony at trial that he did no wrong. Even a few days after Yerry's death, Blanchard said, Cable called Yerry's mother, telling her that "they are trying to put this on me."
"This is a mother who just lost her son," Blanchard said.
Seth Alie, a Marine Patrol sergeant who arrested Cable, testified Thursday about seeing Cable drunk at a motocross event in Fremont in October 2012, weeks after he was charged. A friend of Cable's testified he wasn't intoxicated at the time.
Wageling ordered that Cable will have to perform 500 hours of community service once he is released from prison, which will likely mean he will speak to high school students about the dangers of drinking and boating.
His license to drive was revoked indefinitely. He can reapply to drive after seven years, but will be required to install an alcohol-interlock device on the ignition of his vehicle.