Victim's dad says 'no winners' in plea deal for 'Midnight Rider' director

Victim's dad says 'no winners' in plea deal for 'Midnight Rider' director
Film director Randall Miller, center, sits in a Georgia courtroom with his wife, Jody Savin before pleading guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespassing. (Russ Bynum / Associated Press)

Richard Jones, father of the 27-year-old camera assistant killed on the set of "Midnight Rider" last year, expressed support for a plea agreement that will result in a two-year prison sentence for the director of the film.

"There were no winners today," he said. "Everyone involved lost a lot, but given the circumstances, we feel very comfortable with what the district attorney's (office) did."

On Monday, Randall Miller was sentenced to 10 years, though he is expected to serve only two years in jail. The rest of the time would be probation, during which he would be barred from serving as a director, assistant director or in any supervisory capacity on a film set. Charges against his wife and "Midnight Rider" producer Jody Savin were dropped.

While many in Hollywood expressed disappointment over the plea agreement and favored a harsher penalty for Miller, Jones said the decision would discourage other filmmakers from cutting corners.

He noted that the plea agreement is the first of its kind for a director.

"We felt that there needed to be a message sent and that message needed to contain some time behind bars,'' he said. "We were never seeking revenge. We were always seeking accountability."

Since Sarah Jones' death, Jones and his wife, Elizabeth, have worked with unions and their daughter's friends and colleagues to promote greater awareness of film set safety and spur industry changes. The couple appeared in court in Jesup, Ga., on Thursday to read a statement about their daughter's life.

"First and foremost we want anyone who is responsible for the safety of people under their control to get the message that if you're senseless and careless, you may ultimately go to jail," Richard Jones added.