By Michael Salerno
For Hometown News
NEW SMYRNA BEACH - A judge has sentenced a local salon owner who was convicted of leaving the scene of a fatal motor vehicle crash and tampering with evidence.
Jana Grant, 50, was sentenced to 10 years in prison followed by five years of drug offender probation for failing to stop at the scene of an accident on the North Causeway that killed 42-year-old Glenn Scott Gagnon in November 2008, said Klare Ly, a spokeswoman for the State Attorney's Office.
Molly Justice, spokeswoman for Florida's Seventh Circuit Court, said Ms. Grant would also not be allowed to drive during her probation.
According to police reports, the accident was the second of three hit and run offenses on Ms. Grant's record, but the only one involving an injury or fatality.
Following last year's hit and run, Ms. Grant was also charged with controlled substance possession after an officer discovered more than 100 prescription pills in her purse including Xanax, Soma and Oxycodone.
Carlus Haynes, Ms. Grant's lawyer, said he believed the 10-year sentence was fair because she did not have any previous felonies on her record.
Still, he said Ms. Grant would appeal the sentence.
He said his client has "very good grounds" for appeal because of what he believes to be a lack of evidence connecting her vehicle to Mr. Gagnon's death.
"(The Florida Department of Law Enforcement) searched that car high and low - nothing no physical evidence was linked to her vehicle," Mr. Haynes said. "There was plastic from a headlight near the body, but it didn't match up to her vehicle."
Mr. Haynes said his client showed remorse for Mr. Gagnon and his family, something he believes was not emphasized in the trial phase because it was overshadowed by explosive remarks made by her previous lawyer, Thomas Mott.
During Ms. Grant's trial in March, Mr. Mott based the defense's case around Mr. Gagnon's history of alcoholism and domestic abuse. He argued the victim's fiancÚ, Cheryl Roy, feared for her safety on the night before his death.
Mr. Mott also claimed that the victim was not hit by a car at all, but was struck by a baseball bat by Ms. Roy's son.
But state witnesses testified Mr. Gagnon's injuries were consistent with a motor vehicle accident.
Members of Mr. Gagnon's family could not be reached for comment on Ms. Grant's sentencing before press time.
But in previous interviews with Hometown News, family members remembered Mr. Gagnon as a loving man and hoped Ms. Grant would be punished severely.
One of Mr. Gagnon's sisters, Sheila Grondin, said he moved to Port Orange from his native Winsted, Conn. around 2006 for "a fresh start" in his life following the death of his mother.
"He wanted to start all over again," she said. "He wanted to be closer to his daughter."
Another sister, Carol Gagnon-Cox, described Mr. Gagnon as "my biggest cheerleader" because he supported her as she attended nursing school and was always there to help her if she needed something.
"He was always behind me in everything I did in life," she said.