LOS ANGELES – Former "Prison Break" actor Lane Garrison was sentenced Wednesday to three years and four months in state prison for the drunk-driving crash that caused the death of a teenager last year.
The 27-year-old actor could have faced nearly seven years in prison.
"The public has the right to know that conduct such as this, causing devastation such as this," will have consequences, Superior Court Judge Elden S. Fox said.
"Unfortunately, in this case, you have to be the messenger," he told Garrison.
On Dec. 2, 2006, Garrison met three teens at a grocery store and accompanied them to a party. He was driving a 2001 Land Rover when he lost control and rammed a tree. The crash killed his passenger, Vahagn Setian, 17, who was a student at Beverly Hills High School. Two 15-year-old girls in the car survived.
Garrison had a blood-alcohol content of 0.20 percent, more than twice the legal limit for driving, and was under the influence of cocaine, according to police.
The actor pleaded guilty in May to one count of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence, one count of driving under the influence with a blood-alcohol level of 0.15 percent or higher and a misdemeanor of providing alcohol to a minor.
About 30 teenagers, many of them Beverly Hills High students, packed the courtroom, some wearing T-shirts that had Setian's photograph and the motto: "Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die today."
"There are no winners in this situation, obviously," Setian family spokesman James Lee said outside court.
"I wouldn't characterize the family as being happy about this," he said. "Vahagn will not come back."
After the hearing, defense attorney Harland Braun said his client "was hopeful (of leniency) but someone's dead and he's alive."
Braun said Garrison told him: "I'm the lucky one."
Before the ruling, an emotional Garrison apologized to Setian's family.
"I'm sick of my own behavior that night," he said. "This remorse is genuine. I feel it every day."
Garrison had no reaction to the sentencing and was taken away in handcuffs to immediately begin serving the time.
The judge told Garrison he will get credit for the 91 days he has already served. That, combined with California's Work Time/Good Time early release program, means he will likely be in state prison for about 20 months, TMZ reported.
Fox imposed both prison time and four years' parole and ordered Garrison to pay around $300,000 in restitution to the victims and their families.
Garrison's attorney had asked that his client be sentenced to probation. The Los Angeles County prosecutor's office asked for four years and eight months, two years less than the maximum.
On Tuesday, friends of the teen tried to deliver to court a 3,600-signature petition asking that Garrison receive the maximum sentence of six years and eight months. They were told to submit it at the hearing through the prosecutor.
But the judge refused to accept the petition on Wednesday, calling in inappropriate.
Friends and classmates of the dead teen gathered signatures after school, at football games, in front of stores and by going door to door, said Lee.
"Obviously, there's a sense that people want closure and they want justice and they want an appropriate punishment," Lee said. "We're talking about the loss of a life here."
"You really can't allow a celebrity ... to basically walk away from killing somebody," Lee said. "You have to convince people that justice can be equal across the board."
At his last court appearance Aug. 2, Garrison apologized to the victim's family.
"I have relived that night every day and I think about the bad decisions I made. I can say to you I am so sorry that you lost someone because I love people. That is my first passion," he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.