Two receive 30-day sentences in Jason Rivenburg murder case

| 8/31/2010

Two men charged as accessories in the murder of trucker Jason Rivenburg were sentenced in a Calhoun County, SC, courtroom on Monday, Aug. 30.

Willie Reed, 21, and Jimmy Haygood, 21, were sentenced to 30 days in jail – which they can serve on weekends – 100 hours of community service, and five years of probation.

Rivenburg’s widow, Hope, and family members traveled to South Carolina for the sentencing of Reed and Haygood. This is the second time Jason’s family members have traveled to the state where Jason was murdered on March 5, 2009.

In December 2009, they were there when Willie Pelzer, 22, was convicted of murdering Jason. At his sentencing, Pelzer admitted to killing him and is serving a life sentence without parole.

Both Reed and Haygood testified against Pelzer at his trial. Both admitted they filed a false report about the murder weapon, a .45-caliber handgun.

According to a WIS News 10 report, Reed told jurors at Pelzer’s trial that he picked up Pelzer from his home not long after he shot Rivenburg. The two then met up with Haygood. The three then drove to a woman’s apartment in Charleston, SC, where Reed and Haygood testified that Pelzer threw the gun in the trash bin.

After arriving too early for his delivery of organic milk on March 5, 2009, Jason Rivenburg was turned away from the receiver’s property and was forced to park at an unlit gas station. Not long after he parked, Pelzer robbed and murdered Rivenburg for the $7 he found in one of his pockets.

OOIDA Life Member Alicia Friedt of Lakeland, FL, told Land Line she heard the news of Reed and Haygood’s fate after she went inside and a news program was on about their 30-day sentences. She said several drivers just stood around in disbelief after hearing the news.

“I think this is just a travesty; I really do,” she told Land Line. “After Willie Pelzer told the other two guys what he’d done, they (Reed and Haygood) didn’t do nothing to help Jason. They knew their friend had shot a man who was out there suffering, but they didn’t bother to tell anybody or check on him.”

She supports Hope Rivenburg in urging all OOIDA members and their families to call their state and federal lawmakers to support two Jason’s Law bills for more safe parking options in the U.S. House and Senate.

After hearing of the news on Monday, Friedt said she and some other drivers had the idea of honoring Jason and other drivers who have been victims of violent crimes by developing a  Facebook page.

“I am angry about this. We need to let our representatives know that this is happening to us out here on the road and we need safe places to pull over and park,” Friedt said.

– By Clarissa Kell-Holland, staff writer