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On the morning of November 15, 2004, Candice Anderson became a murderer, or so she thought. The 21-year-old was driving along a country road in Van Zandt County, Texas, on her new 2004 GM Saturn Ion. Her fiance, Gene Mikale Erickson, age 25, was in the passenger seat.
Unexpectedly, the Saturn Ion veered off the road and crashed into a tree. The airbags did not deploy. Candice was thrust out of her vehicle, landing on the hood of the car. Mikale also flew out, landing facedown on her lap. Candace was severely injured, suffering a lacerated liver, head trauma and broken ribs. Mikale did not survive.
Candice pleaded guilty in 2007 to the felony charge of criminally negligent homicide, and served five years of probation, 260 hours of community service, and paid $2,500 in fines. However, the real punishment was the guilt that consumed her—believing she had ended the life of a loved one. Candice faced the scrutiny of people in her community who labeled her a murderer.
And Candice believed herself to be just that until Mr. Hilliard stepped in to clear Candice of this unjust burden, proving the accident was caused by GM's defective ignition switch.