To read this story, please sign in with your email address and password.
You’ve read all your free stories this month. Subscribe now and unlock unlimited access to our stories, exclusive subscriber content, additional newsletters, invitations to special events, and more.Sign in Subscribe
Don’t have an account yet? Register here.
A 23-year-old Springfield man born in Honduras — and in the United States without proper documentation — was sentenced to 10 years in prison Friday for driving drunk at 100 mph on Glenstone Avenue when he killed another driver on Dec. 11, 2021.
Jarol Leiva-Navarro, 23, had already pleaded guilty in July to the class B felony of driving while intoxicated causing the death of another not a passenger.
On Friday, he received credit for the almost two years he has spent in Greene County Jail since his arrest.
He killed Colby Compton, 32, of Springfield, who was driving north on Glenstone at about 9:30 p.m. Compton was turning left on a yellow turn signal onto Portland Street.
Leiva-Navarro had a green light. He was driving a Dodge Charger south on Glenstone and, according to witnesses, was weaving in and out of traffic while racing another vehicle when he struck Compton’s Saturn sedan.
“He never saw it coming,” said Zachary McFarland, an assistant Greene County prosecuting attorney, of Compton. “He never had a chance either.”
Victim’s car barely recognizable as a vehicle
At the hearing, McFarland gave a slide presentation that included a photo of Compton’s vehicle, which was barely recognizable as a car.
The prosecutor said Compton was wearing his seatbelt but the violent impact of the crash broke and snapped the seatbelt. The spinal cord was severed in his chest. He died at the scene.
Data taken from Leiva-Navarro’s vehcile reveal he was going 110 mph five seconds before the crash; 102 mph 0.5 seconds prior to impact; and 90 mph the moment he hit Compton’s car.
The speedometer of Leiva-Navarro’s car was stuck at 90. The speed limit on that stretch of Glenstone is 40.
“He (Leiva-Navarro) did not stab him with a knife or shoot him with a gun but he used his car as a projectile,” McFarland said.
Defendant is subject to deportation
Leiva-Navarro is subject to being deported back to Honduras, said defense attorney Joseph S. Passanise.
After the sentencing, Passanise was asked if his client was going to prison in Missouri or if he instead was going to be deported back to Honduras.
“He will go to prison and then it will depend on how fast they want to deport him,” Passanise said.
Tom Carver, a Springfield lawyer who handles many cases in federal court, said that typically a defendant is deported either when the sentence is completed or toward the end of the sentence. Carver was not involved in the court case.
The range of sentencing for Leiva-Navarro was five years to 15 years.
Passanise asked Greene County Circuit Judge Jerry Harmison for something as low as a sentence that avoided prison time and would, instead, place his client in a program called Team Challenge.
Prosecutor McFarland suggested 10 years as a “minimum sentence.”
Compton’s sister and his mother spoke at the hearing, imploring Harmison to impose the maximum sentence of 15 years.
They said they were devastated by the tragic loss.
Macey Compton, the sister, entered the courtroom and sat in front of a reporter.
At times, her body shook and her breath sounded like she was hyper-ventilating and more than once she slammed her fist into her thigh.
On the other side of the courtroom gallery were both of the defendant’s parents. At one point they were both in tears.
‘No mulligans for the violence of taking someone’s life’
Macey Compton spoke for an hour at the hearing, which lasted 2 hours and 10 minutes.
She said she and her brother, who was older, grew up on Springfield’s north side.
“Colby was often the smartest and kindest person in the room, wherever he was,” she said. “He was a gentle soul, but tough as nails.
“My brother was supposed to walk me down the aisle and other future life events,” she said. “He was the closest thing I have ever had to a parent-father figure.”
She said she considered Leiva-Navarro a murderer and wanted him sent to prison for the maximum amount of time.
She feared that if he were deported he would again enter the United States without required documentation and return to Springfield. Leiva-Navarro became a father soon after he was incarcerated two years ago.
“He took an innocent and very loved life from this world,” she said. “There are no mulligans for the violence of taking someone’s life.”
‘A drunk, self-centered thrill seeker’
Janet Sue Compton talked about her son, whom she called “my beautiful baby boy.”
“All our tomorrows were taken away by the defendant — a drunk, self-centered thrill seeker,” she said.
Passanise said Leiva-Navarro and his mother fled Honduras in 2014 or 2015.
“He is not a bad person,” he said of his client. “This is a young person that acted irresponsibly and recklessly.”
Leiva-Navarro also addressed Judge Harmison.
“There is no excuse for the bad decisions I made,” he told the judge. “I wish we could go back in time.”
Leiva-Navarro turned his head to look back at Macey Compton, seated in the front row. She had already spoken and had said she did not want Leiva-Navarro to ever again speak her brother’s name out loud.
“I am very sorry for the pain that I brought to your family,” he told her. “I never meant to harm anyone. … I am very sorry for your loss.”
Macey Compton, quivering, pounded her fist into her thigh.
Reporter Jackie Rehwald contributed to this story.