EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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January 25, 2013

Update: Man gets 3 1/2 years for drunken Andover fatal

SALEM, Mass. - A Haverhill man pleaded guilty today to running down and killing a woman outside the Andover State Police barracks while driving drunk in December of 2010 and must serve three years in jail.

Under a plea agreement, Robert V. Bryant, 52, of 93 Lincolnshire Drive, pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide while drunken driving and attempting to commit a crime, leaving the scene of an accident. As part of the deal, Bryant was not prosecuted for manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident, offenses he was indicted for after the fatal crash.

Bryant faced 15 years in jail on the vehicular manslaughter charge. On a deal reached between the defense and prosecutors, and approved by Judge John Lu, Bryant will spend 3 1/2 years in jail. He's also subjected to an 18-month suspended sentence for five years, during which he's barred from drinking alcohol. By pleading guilty to vehicular homicide, Bryant faces up to a 15-year loss of his driver's license.

He was driving a Chevy pickup when he mowed down Cynthia Anne Ray, 30, also of Haverhill, as she left the barracks on Route 125 at 3 p.m. on Dec. 12, 2010.

Family members and friends of both Bryant and Ray were in the courtroom in Salem Superior Court today to witness Bryant's plea.

The courtroom was hushed as Bryant told Judge Lu he understood the charges and the fact he was giving up his right to a trial by pleading guilty.

Ray's mother, Katherine Balesteri, said in a victim impact statement that "no sentence will be enough for my baby girl."

A tearful Bryant said he was "truly sorry" for what he did and was led from the courtroom in handcuffs.

Bryant had been free on $10,000 bail since his arrest.

Bryant is a computer executive for a Philadelphia-based company. He is married with four children.

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