Reda, a former Cobb County SWAT officer, pleaded guilty earlier this month to second-degree homicide by vessel, three counts of making false statements, violation of oath of office by a public officer and tampering with evidence in connection with a boating accident that led to the death of a fellow police officer.
He learned his fate Thursday: a 15-year sentence with four to be served in prison.
Reda sat mostly silent at the defense table at the Justice Center in downtown Canton during the sentencing hearing, dressed in a blue coat and shirt with khaki pants.
Just before his sentence, Reda addressed the court and offered apologies to all parties.
"Brent was my best friend," he said of the late Brent Stephens of Douglasville, adding he "could not be more remorseful" about what happened.
Reda was driving his 22-foot, center-console fishing boat April 22 with Shelly Powell of Acworth and Stephens, police said. The boat collided with a buoy, which sent Stephens overboard as the three were traveling to Harbor Town Marina, off Galts Ferry Road in Acworth, after eating dinner at Props 'n Hops restaurant on Victoria Landing Drive in Woodstock, police said.
According to the autopsy from the GBI, Stephens suffered from blunt impact trauma, with abrasions on his scalp, leg, forearm and wrist. Other reports have noted broken ribs.
Reda and Ms. Powell were arrested six days later. Reda, who resigned from the police force last May, initially said there was nothing that would've caused Stephens to fall off the boat, according to reports.
Reda called 911 roughly 90 minutes after police say he hit the navigational marker and told the operator that Stephens had likely jumped off the boat. He also said it was just him and Stephens on the boat, but he later admitted he had dropped off Ms. Powell before calling 911.
According to the Cherokee Sheriff's Office report, alcohol was involved and Reda admitted that he and Stephens "had a couple drinks each" before the accident; however, Reda was not given a sobriety test. He also told authorities that Ms. Powell was there to meet Stephens despite the fact that it was Reda who had been romantically involved with her.
Sheilah Stephens, Stephens' mother, testified during the sentencing hearing.
"Ken left my son to die alone in the mud," she testified.
After the hearing, she said she agreed with the sentence.
"Justice was served and I think Brent would agree," she said.
Ms. Powell, who faces charges of making false statements and obstruction, lived in the same neighborhood as Reda, and the two were seeing each other romantically for a year before the accident. She testified she and Reda circled the area several times using a flashlight to search. She said Reda believed Stephens swam to shore.
"I was panicking," she said on the stand. "I couldn't find him, and I didn't know what happened."
She said Reda wanted to get her off the boat because she had "nothing to do with the accident, and it would break up his marriage."
The hearing was often emotional, with Mills getting choked up after the testimony of Lori Stephens, Stephens' wife.
"How could you do something like this to Brent?" she asked Reda during her testimony, which was sometimes tearful. "I will always wonder why."
Reda's attorney, Jimmy Berry, attempted to get his client probation.
"Obviously, we hoped for less," he said about the sentence. "The judge did what he thought was the right thing to do."
Cherokee County District Attorney Garry Moss said he "respected [Mills'] judgment."