Gregg Allman Biopic Director, Executive Producer Plead Guilty
The director and executive producer of the Gregg Allman biopic Midnight Rider have been sentenced in the death of Sarah Jones, a camera assistant who was killed during filming.
Director Randall Miller, who pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass, received a 10-year sentence. He will serve two years in a Wayne County, Ga., jail and eight years on probation, during which time he cannot work as a film director, first A.D. or supervisor in charge of a crew; Miller will also pay a $20,000 fine and complete 360 hours of community service.
Executive producer Jay Sedrish, who also pled guilty, received 10 years of probation and a $10,000 fine. As part of the plea deals, the charges against Miller's wife, Jody Savin, who was a producer on the film, were dropped.
“There is nothing this court could do to really bring justice to this case. This is a tragic accident ... that could have been prevented," Judge Anthony Harrison said (quote via Deadline.com).
Addressing Jones' family, Judge Harrison continued, “I hope that this day will contribute to your goal of sending a message of safety to the industry ... and give some meaning to this tragedy.”
Jones' father, Richard Jones, said that his family is at peace with the outcome.
“We did feel the prosecutor had a very good case, that there would have been a conviction,” he said (quote via Variety.com).
When asked if he was happy with the outcome, Jones replied, “I certainly hesitate to use the word ‘happy.’ There’s no happiness here at all. We are content with the result.”
Although Miller and Savin changed their pleas to guilty, they stressed that they did not intentionally commit a crime.
"In the weeks and months that follow, when the true facts of the events are revealed, people will know that this was not a crime. We never had criminal intent; we would never knowingly or intentionally put anybody's safety at risk," they said in a statement. "Our hearts are broken, our spirits are broken. We have young children and can only imagine with immense sadness the heartbreak of losing a child. We are praying for Sarah's family."
Hilary Schwartz, first assistant director on Midnight Rider, faces a separate trial for the incident, which could begin this week. Allman himself also originally faced charges, but they were dropped late last year.
“We have come together and reasoned with one another,” Allman’s attorney said at the time.
Jones was killed on Feb. 20, 2014, when she was struck by a train while Midnight Rider was filming on a bridge. She was 27 years old at the time of her death.