Courtney Gainey pleads guilty in hit-and-run death of 14-year-old Allana Marie Staiano

Reporter: Stephanie Byrne Writer: Derrick Shaw
Published: Updated:
Courtney Gainey

Courtney Gainey changed her plea from not guilty to guilty in the death of 14-year-old Allana Marie Staiano in a hit-and-run crash in North Fort Myers in January 2020.

She was scheduled to face a jury trial Tuesday, but as potential jurors waited the judge gave Gainey until 1 p.m. to decide whether she wanted to change her plea.

The guilty plea was for the charge of leaving the scene of a crash involving a death, a first-degree felony.

Gainey killed Staiano with her car and then fled the scene in the Suncoast Estates community of North Fort Myers.

She then surrendered to members of the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Warrants Task Force several days later.

Gainey changed her plea in open court with no plea deals and acknowledged to the judge it was because of her own guilt.

Allana Staiano’s mother, Christine Gray said after the new plea, “I had to stare at my daughter’s picture in the face, an M.E. picture of a picture that didn’t even look like my child. The child that I gave birth to 14 years ago. The child I spent 14 years fighting for.”

Gray is still fighting for her daughter after she was left for dead, adding, “Why is it that our children are dying on the streets, literally, and these people are getting the smallest sentences?”

Gray, however, is frustrated with the way the case was handled; from her daughter’s name being mispronounced in court to the feeling the court just wants the case over with.

She added, “How much disrespect is a victim supposed to face before they say enough and having to listen to my daughter’s name repeatedly get mispronounced from the day she passed to today. And they still cannot, no matter how many times, every time says ‘Elena,’ and I say, ‘Allana Marie.'”

In an emotional day for Allana’s family, prosecutors also dropped witness tampering charges against Gainey.

Sentencing for Gainey is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 1 at 1:30 p.m.

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.