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Coventry woman sentenced to serve 4 years in state prison for deadly 2017 hit and run

PROVIDENCE, R.I. Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced that a Coventry woman was sentenced in Washington County Superior Court to serve four years at the Adult Correctional Institutions (ACI), stemming from her arrest in July 2017 for leaving the scene of a deadly accident that claimed the life of 27-year-old Sarah Balmforth.

Shannon Holden (age 27) entered a plea of nolo contendere to one count of duty to stop in an accident resulting in death.

At a hearing today before Superior Court Justice Sarah Taft-Carter, the court sentenced Holden to seven years at the ACI with four years to serve and the balance of the sentence suspended with probation. The court further ordered that Holden pay a $5,000 fine and issued a 3-year loss of license upon her release.

Had the case proceeded to trial, the State was prepared to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that on the evening on July 3, 2017, Holden was knowingly involved in an accident resulting in the death of Sarah Balmforth and did not remain at the scene of said accident.

That evening, Holden arrived at a friend's house claiming she had hit what she believed to be a deer on South Road in Exeter. Investigators discovered Ms. Balmforth, who was deceased, the next morning, along with damaged vehicle debris consistent with the damage observed on Holden's Jeep Wrangler. State police were able to identify Holden as the perpetrator following a rigorous investigation.

Assistant Attorney General Mark Trovato of the Office of the Attorney General and Detective Conor O'Donnell of the Rhode Island State Police led the investigation and prosecution of this case.

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