STOKES COUNTY, N.C. -- A 20-year-old man was sentenced to a month in jail, admitting he hit and killed a Stokes County woman after he had been drinking and driving.
Jacob Taylor Nunn, of King, who was 19 at the time of the accident in August 2012, pleaded guilty in a Stokes County Superior Courtroom as part of a plea agreement.
Nunn admitted he hit and killed Jennifer Nieberle on Edwards Farm Road near King after drinking and driving. He was also charged with leaving the scene of the accident and underage drinking.
Prosecutors say he left the scene after hitting Nieberle, then later called his father. At first, they said, Nunn told his father he might have hit a deer. According to the prosecution in court today, Nunn later said, "She was wearing white shorts."
An autopsy revealed Nieberle died instantly.
It was her 33rd birthday.
Nieberle's sister, Sonya Nieberle, said the past year has felt like one long nightmare.
"She was just a joy to be around and the life of the party. She was just always trying to help everyone," Sonya said. "We were planning on having birthday celebration and instead we ended up with funeral food in the fridge."
A memorial is still set up on road where Nieberle died, only blocks from her mother's home.
"She was walking to the top of this hill to see the falling stars that night because it was her birthday," Nieberle's mother Debby Nieberle remembered. "She loved there was a meteor shower every year around her birthday in August. She loved to walk. She loved nature and being outdoors and watching the stars."
"There are really no words," Debby said slowly. "People tell me it's supposed to get easier as time goes by, but I can't see that happening right now."
Family and supporters for both Nieberle's family and Jacob Nunn were in court Monday.
For the first time since the accident more than a year ago, Nunn briefly addressed the Nieberle family. "I am very sorry for your loss. I never meant for anything like that to ever happen," he said through tears.
His lawyer told the judge this was "not an appropriate case for an active sentence."
Nunn's thirty day jail sentence will be followed by supervised probation.
"As a family we're glad he got some time. We were afraid not even one day would be served," admitted Sonya. "I felt like there was not much remorse shown. We're glad this part of it is over with."
They say Nieberle will be remembered as an animal lover who encouraged spay and neuter causes and loved her dog, Cocoa. She was especially close with her maternal grandmother.
Debby added, "I hope this sentence is going to be closure so that maybe [Nieberle] can rest in peace now."