Family members of a woman who was killed in a 2021 road rage incident addressed her killer at the Spokane County Courthouse before he was sentenced to more than 15 years in prison Thursday morning.

“We’re never going to get our Erika back, but we do need justice,” said Yvonne Reiner, the mother of Erika Kienas, as she fought through tears during a victim impact statement in front of Judge Annette Plese’s courtroom. “She was a good soul.”

Kienas, who was 33 when she was killed, was shot in the chest by Richard S. Hough, 30, after a brief verbal altercation at an intersection in north Spokane. A jury convicted Hough of second-degree murder in December.

“I’m still maintaining this was self-defense and I had no way out, and I felt I did what I had to do,” Hough said in a statement to the court. “I do regret what happened.”

According to court records, Hough was in a Volkswagen Jetta with his brother and mother, who was driving the vehicle, on Cozza Drive on May 15, 2021, when they were cut off by a Subaru. Kienas, a passenger, was in the vehicle with her boyfriend, who was driving, and another passenger.

The Houghs said that the Subaru was driving erratically and they followed it in order to report the license plate number, defense attorney Anne Wasilewski told jurors during the trial. The vehicles stopped at the intersection of Francis Avenue and Addison Street. The two got out of their vehicles and argued within feet of each other. Hough shot Kienas once in the chest seconds later.

Prosecutors said Hough acted in anger when he killed Kienas. Hough’s attorneys argued that Kienas was the aggressor and that Hough, who suffers from a disability, wasn’t able to do anything else.

“It’s a sad day when two cars meet on the road and it leads to a woman dead,” Erika Kienas’ grandmother Jacquelyn Smartt-Bennett said in a victim impact statement. “Richard stole a young boy’s mother and a sense of security that he’ll never get back.”

Smartt-Bennett asked why Hough couldn’t have used non-lethal force to push or hit Kienas instead of shooting her. Hough argued that he thought Kienas had a knife when she threatened to “cut” him, though a knife was never recovered. Police did find a barbecue scraper with Kienas’ DNA.

Kienas’ sister, Sarah Brown, described the “unfathomable pain and anger” that her nephew will feel throughout his life as he grows up without his mother.

“My nephew will forget what her voice sounded like,” she said.

Matthew Peight, the father of Kienas’ son, slammed Hough in an emotional statement for making their son “motherless.”

“Our son will never feel his mother’s embrace,” he said. “You never took responsibility.”

Hough’s father, Gary Hough, asked the judge for a more lenient sentence.

Hough did not have a criminal record prior to the shooting.

“He’s a good kid. He’s never been in trouble with police,” his father said. “My family regrets what has happened. I know that the Kienas family lost something very important to them. We’re losing something very dear to us too.”

Plese sentenced Hough to more than 15 years in prison.

“We love you,” his sister Stephanie Hough said as her brother was escorted out of the courtroom.

Defense attorney Colin Charbonneau, who represented Hough and who heads the Spokane County Public Defender’s office, said that he intends to appeal the sentence.

“What happened here was an obvious tragedy. There’s nothing here that can fix anything,” Charbonneau said. “The context matters. From our perspective, she was the aggressor.”