Father gets 18 years for killing son driving drunk

SHERMAN, Tex. (KXII) - A 36-year-old man was sentenced to 18 years in prison Thursday afternoon in Grayson County district court for murder, a charge the victim's family asked the state not to pursue.

Last April Kristoffer Craft was driving drunk, using his cell phone and driving about 60 miles an hour when he crashed his truck into a Whitewright home killing his seven year-old son, Kolton.

Police said Kolton was not wearing his seat belt.

"Mr. Craft was intoxicated, he was on his phone, he blew through an intersection of State Highway 160 and flew into the side of a house," Grayson County District Attorney Brett Smith said.

Neighbors said Craft told them not to call for help.

Craft is a former cop.

In 2010, he got a DWI when he flipped his truck and landed upside down in a ditch, leading to him getting fired as a Collin County law officer.

Two years later, Craft was convicted for impersonating a public servant when he got pulled over for reckless driving. Police said he'd been drinking.

That's when he got deferred probation. One of the conditions was that he couldn't drink.

In May it only took about an hour for a jury to convict the 36 year-old of felony murder, a charge the family asked the state not to pursue.

"We obviously respect the jury's decision," said Craft's attorney Pete Schulte after the May verdict. "We disagree with it, we do not think this is felony murder. We think this is intoxication manslaughter."

"We will likely seek an appeal once this case is over," Schulte said. "My client is devastated. He hasn't been able to sleep, he killed his own son. He can't take that away and he knows it, and he just hopes he can seek the justice I think he deserves."

Craft's mother Pam Thompson said her seven year old and only grandson, Kolton, was her world.

"And they were like this. And so it rips him apart to think about it. Doesn't matter where he is. He's in his own prison," Thompson said.

Smith wanted a 40 year sentence for Craft.

"The biggest factor we considered is public safety," Smith said.

Schulte said before trial began, Craft was willing to plea guilty for intoxication manslaughter, even taking 20 years.

Instead the judge gave him 18.

"For the state to get two years less from the court, then they would have gotten if they entertained a plea offer at what this really was. But instead, they wanted to go forward with murder and this is where we are," Schulte said.

Craft will be eligible for parole after serving 10 years of the sentence.

"At least we felt it was just, and not just about re-punishing everybody," Thompson said.

Thompson wants to rebuild her family.

"Cause it's been destroyed. And all we want is to heal, all we want is to heal," Thompson said.

Schulte said he's pleased with Craft's sentence Thursday afternoon.

And as for Craft's family, they headed to the cemetery for a balloon release afterwards in Kolton's honor.