The Season Two winner of the hit reality TV show "Survivor" made it to the end of an even more gut-wrenching life event Monday with words of forgiveness for the man convicted of criminally negligent homicide in her son's death.
Braylon Davis' two-year sentence signaled the end of the legal process in the Dec. 3, 2013, crash that killed 25-year-old Taylor Lee Collins, the son of Knoxville native and 2001 "Survivor" winner Tina Wesson.
The grieving process continues, though, for Wesson, who told Davis she misses her son "with an intensity you cannot realize."
Davis pleaded not guilty in December to vehicular homicide by intoxication, reckless endangerment, minor in possession of alcohol and driving under the influence. But a jury convicted him of criminally negligent homicide, which is a Class E felony.
"I want you to know I harbor no bitterness," Wesson said, looking at Davis minutes before Hamilton County Criminal Court Judge Barry Steelman handed down the sentence in a nearly empty courtroom. "I have forgiveness for you. I understand mistakes and I understand grace. You have my grace today, Braylon, and I just hope you will take that grace and make better choices in your future."
Wesson said she did not sense a lot of regret from Davis during the trial, but when Davis took the stand after her on Monday, he said he thinks every day about the night Collins died.
The 25-year-old Collins wasn't wearing a seat belt. Both had been drinking, but Davis testified during the trial that he drove because Collins seemed to be the more intoxicated of the two. Davis was driving when the car veered off South Germantown Road, up a hill and crashed into the side of a home around midnight.
"I am extremely sorry about what happened," Davis said after Wesson's remarks. "I can only imagine how you guys feel. And I know that you say you don't really see the emotion. Well, there's nothing to see. It's what I feel down inside me, and I can't do anything more than apologize to you and try to move on with my life and pray that you can, as well."
Davis is also facing charges of theft and aggravated robbery in unrelated incidents.
Contact staff writer David Cobb at dcobb@timesfree press.com or 423-757-6249.