A famous former motorcycle builder from Brevard County headed to prison Friday. Billy Lane was sentenced to six years in prison and three years probation after causing a crash that killed a fellow biker.
"It's been really, really tough, but it's something I have to live with everyday," Lane said inside the courtroom.
Lane was moved to the Brevard County jail after the sentencing Friday morning to be processed. Then he will be sent to the Department of Corrections Reception Center to assign him to a prison and give him a new job behind bars.
"I drive by the spot where I killed him everyday. My motorcycle, at least for the last 20 months I've had my license back, and I've had to think about what happened and I look up to the sky, pray to God for his soul and for his family," Lane said.
Billy Lane didn't offer any excuses for the drunk-driving crash that killed fellow biker Gerald Morelock on A-1-A in Melbourne Beach on September 4, 2006. He repeatedly took responsibility, telling the court he wasn't seeking pity.
"I made the single most irresponsible decision in my life and it cost another man his life," Lane said.
The 39-year-old Melbourne Beach man gained fame and notoriety for the stylish motorcycles he built and displayed on cable television. His attorney argued, if he was spared prison time, he could use that same notoriety to persuade young people not to drink and drive.
Prosecutors, though, worried allowing someone to walk away from killing someone simply because he was famous would send the wrong message.
"If Mr. Lane stocked shelves at Wal-Mart, I would submit to the court that we wouldn't be arguing that," a prosecutor said.
Lane faced nine years in prison under the plea deal, but the judge decided gave him a break, noting Lane's remorse. Afterward, the victim's brother offered his reaction.
"That's the judge's gig, not mine. You know, the judge asked me and I told him, 'That's your thing, not mine.' I'm not a judge," Gerald Morelock's brother said.
As for how Lane will get treated in prison, corrections officials said he will go into the general population, but still has to be evaluated before determining if he will go to a high-security prison or not.
I was wondering why I wasn't seeing any new stuff coming for Billy.
Gotta be tough causing the death of a mate. If he is the kinda bloke I think he is then he didn't just get 6yrs in the pen he got a life sentence! Worst of all the took his hair! Scalped by the man.
Maybe he will get to build a prison bike and teach few blokes inside some useful legit skills for when they get out.
HOT FROM THE SHOP
1/1/2012 - News from Billy: ...It is exciting for me to know that Choppers Inc. continues to live and breathe in the bike world until my return, with my sister Georgia behind the wheel. Choppers Inc. will always remain a part of the family, offering old-fashioned service and the highest quality American-made parts, built for the motorcycles we all love so much. 2012 is going to be a great year at Choppers Inc. There will be new products and some exciting changes. Stay tuned, and watch for updates here and on our facebook page. Thanks for your support. Looking forward to seeing you soon. Billy Lane