The killer of school teacher Leigh Ann Ward is now free. MDOC released him from "earned supervised release" status on July 19. He was convicted of manslaughter in the death of Ms. Ward in February 2012 and sentenced to six years in prison. However, he only served 2 1/2 years of the term before MDOC granted him "earned supervised release" status in October 2014. Such a status meant he only had to report to a probation officer on a regular basis and undergo drug testing. He is now serving five years of supervised probation but is free from MDOC custody.
Such a classification meant he was not incarcerated after that date. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 20 years in prison but the court suspended 14 years of the sentence.
WLBT reported on February 6, 2012:
Ethan Van Sice was a teenager when he was charged with killing a Madison-Ridgeland Academy teacher in August of 2010.
The Jackson man appeared in Hinds County Circuit Court Monday and entered a guilty plea to vehicular homicide in the death of Leigh Anne Ward.
He was 19 when his Toyota Tundra crashed into the 35 year old's Toyota Camry near her home in northeast Jackson.
"Her life was cut very short by somebody's irresponsible behavior," said Bobbie Ward.
The mother of the popular Madison-Ridgeland Academy teacher, is disappointed that he was never jailed and with the time he will serve.
In the plea agreement, Van Sice was sentenced to 20 years with 14 years suspended.
He will serve six years and received five years probation upon release.
The Jackson man apologized to the family, but Ward said they were empty words.
"You know it's easy to say you're sorry when something has already occurred, and you're doing that as a way to me of getting your sentence lighter," Ward said.
Ward also addressed Van Sice and the court sharing the pain her family suffered by his actions.
The only child of Dr. Frazier and Bobbie Ward was on her way home from school for her father's birthday dinner on August 17th of 2010 when witnesses said Van Sice was speeding down River Thames Road.
"He did not have to be running all over the street," Ward said. "He did not have to be knocking down the stop signs, and he would have killed a jogger if Mr. Smith down on River Thames had not hollered to the jogger and said get up in that yard."
Robert Schuler Smith, Hinds County District Attorney, said test results found no alcohol or drugs in the Jackson teenager's system. WLBT story.
The D.A. also said there was no evidence to substantiate claims that Van Sice was texting while driving.