CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A jury found a Charlotte man guilty of drunk driving and killing a waitress as she tried to cross South Boulevard after a Panthers playoff game.
Greg Wheeling Jr. was convicted of second-degree murder and was sentenced to a minimum of 13 years in prison in the death of 28-year-old Kelli Putnam. Both Wheeling and the victim’s mother and fiancé spoke in court during an emotional afternoon Tuesday.
Putnam had been to the Panthers’ playoff game in January of 2016 with her fiancé Bronsyn Stewart. Thirty-year-old Greg Wheeling was at the game, too. Their paths crossed hours later when Wheeling drove drunk, hitting and killing Putnam.
Putnam’s mother, Amy Johnson, addressed the court moments after a jury found Wheeling guilty of second-degree murder.
“I don’t think I’ll ever, of course I’ll never get over it,” Johnson said. “I don’t think anyone else ever will either. I just hope she’s at peace now.”
Putnam’s fiancé also spoke Tuesday.
“You took away the love of my life, the woman I was going to marry,” said Stewart.
Outside the courtroom, he told reporters that he was grateful Wheeling was sentenced to a minimum of 13 years behind bars.
“Greg wheeling showed zero remorse today,” Stewart said. “He got what he deserved, justice has been served.”
In a surprising statement, Wheeling also spoke to the judge, telling her he actually knew Kelli Putnam and explained that he hugged her just weeks before he killed her.
“And I know she’s not here anymore and that’s something I have to live with for the rest of my life,” he said.