'Midnight Rider' Filmmakers Say Sarah Jones' Death 'Was Not a Crime'
Midnight Rider filmmakers Randall Miller and Jody Savin have pleaded not guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass in the death of camera assistant Sarah Jones.
Miller and Savin, who together own the Gregg Allman biopic's production company Unclaimed Freight, also released a statement through their attorney Don Samuel, insisting that Jones' death "was not a crime."
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"In the weeks and months that follow when the true facts of the events are revealed, people will know that this was not a crime: we never had criminal intent; we would never knowingly or intentionally put anybody's safety at risk," the statement read in part. "This was a horrible tragedy and a horrific accident."
Miller and Savin also explained why they've remained mostly silent since Jones' death after she was struck and killed by a train on Feb. 20.
"We have remained silent out of respect for the family of Sarah Jones, their loved ones and all of the crew who were injured on that very sad day," the statement reads.
The pair also said that Jones' death "will haunt us forever."
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"Our hearts are broken, our spirits are broken. We have young children and can only imagine with immense sadness the heartbreak of losing a child. We are praying for Sarah's family," they said.
Miller and Savin also claimed that they've always emphasized crew safety in every production they've done since starting out in 1990.
They also pledged to promote safe working environments going forward.
Miller, Savin and executive producer Jay Sedrish were indicted on July 3 and charged with involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespassing in Jones' death, following a more-than-four-month investigation by local authorities.
Involuntary manslaughter carries a potential sentence of 10 years in prison under Georgia law; criminal trespass is a misdemeanor and carries a potential sentence of 12 months.
Several civil suits have also been filed against Miller, Savin, Sedrish and other individuals and entities associated with the film, the production of which has since been suspended, with star William Hurt, who was on set when Jones was killed, pulling out of the project.
Miller called Jones' parents after the incident to express his condolences.
"I don't know myself really what part Randy Miller played in all of this, but he was very upset that day," Richard Jones told The Hollywood Reporter in March. "He was saying he was so sorry."
In an interview with THR in May, following the filing of a civil suit against Miller and others, Jones' parents said they'd only spoken to Miller one additional time since then.
"Again, he said he was sorry," Richard Jones said of that second interaction.
Jones' parents declined to comment on Miller and Savin's statement.