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Nick Hogan found guilty, sentenced to 8 months in jail
By CHRIS SCHRAMM - SLAM! Wrestling


Nick Bollea (Hogan) was sentenced today to eight months in jail for his involvement in driving a car that resulted in his friend, John Graziano, being injured.

Bollea had faced up to five years following being charged for reckless driving involving serious bodily injury, a third-degree felony.

He was also given five years of probation starting today with no alcohol during the full probation period. His license was revoked until he turns 21.

Nick was involved in a serious accident in Clearwater, Fla., on the evening of August 26, 2007. Nick was driving a Toyota Supra with 22-year-old Graziano in the passenger seat. Although speeds are disputed, a police report estimated the car was driving 60 miles-per-hour, well above the 40 mph speed limit.

Nick was tested as under the influence for someone his age (17). It was said that Nick's father provided him with alcohol earlier in the day. Nick was charged as an adult due to the seriousness of the charges.

Nick pled “no contest” via his lawyer before Judge Philip Federico at the Pinellas (Fla.) County Court this afternoon. The family of Graziano had asked for no less than one year in jail for Bollea.

“I wish I had the ability to rewind and get people to think,” Judge Federico said. “You can’t undo what happened to John.”

The judge did not categorize the incident as an “accident,” but a conscious series of choices that led to a bad ending. Federico was impressed by Nick’s move to perform public service since the accident, "but it is not enough to take away from the seriousness of the offense," Federico said

Before sentencing, members of both the Bollea and Graziano families spoke before the court. While the Bolleas asked for leniency, the Grazianos asked for toughness by the courts.

Terry Bollea (Hulk Hogan), father of Nick, described John as "another part of his family." He said Nick is different than the character seen on the reality show Hogan Knows Best and Nick should not be judged by what is seen on television. He asked for Nick to be treated fairly by the courts.

"We won't give up on John and I ask you to not give up on Nick," Hogan told the judge.

Nick's mother, Linda, broke down during her speech before the court. "I know my son never meant to hurt his best friend. He loves him so much."

"Everyday I miss being with John," Nick said before the court. "I feel terrible. There is no court punishment that will make-up for what happened to John." He turned to the family of Graziano during his speech issued a direct apology to them for his actions and the accident.

Nick admitted he had not driven a car since the accident.

In an emotional speech, Edward Graziano, father of John, said, "Nick Bollea destroyed my son's future." Graziano described the Bollea family's laissez-faire attitude following the accident as horrible. He noted that Nick will be okay while John will need nursing care for the rest of his life.

John's sister also spoke, stating that she has "lost her brother." John's mother, Debra, and girlfriend, Ashley Berry, also spoke. Edward and Ashley both told stories of Nick visiting John in the hospital, but spending a lot of his time skateboarding and shooting Nerf guns.

Ashley also revealed that Nick's license plate "COEHSP" stands for "Capable of Eluding High Speed Pursuit."

The judge, all lawyers involved and Nick, watched a video put together by Pinellas County Assistant State's Attorney Scott Rosenwasser. The television was turned away from those seated in the court. It was a video of the wreck and John Graziano's condition following the wreck.

Nick changed his facial impressions very little during the case, yet seemed unsettled during the video showing.

Nick came to the court with his sister, Brooke, at his side shortly before the 1:30 p.m. court hearing. Inside the court, his parents Hulk and Linda sat separated by Brooke and Linda's mother. Linda and Hulk are currently involved in a nasty divorce battle.

A civil case issued by the Graziano family to Nick and the Bollea family is still pending.