Carlos Martinelly Montano sentenced to 20 years in prison
Carlos Martinelly Montano, a 23-year-old Bolivian national who had been set for deportation before he was convicted of killing a Prince William County nun and injuring two others in his third DUI offense, was sentenced Friday to 20 years in prison.
Martinelly Montano pleaded guilty in October to lesser charges of driving while intoxicated and driving without a license. During his trial, he was found guilty of felony murder.
At the last second before he was sentenced for killing a nun in a drunk driving crash, he asked to speak. Clutching a hand written letter, he read his statement to Judge Lon Farris.
"I am truly sorry," Montano said. "I feel terrible. I have agonizing pain in my heart."
"Ever since the accident, I have been deeply moved for the life and the damage I inflicted upon the sisters."
Martinelly Montano admitted he was drunk while driving in Brisow on Aug. 1, 2010 when he hit a car carrying Sisters Denise Mosier, Charlotte Lange and Connie Ruth Lupton. Mosier was killed, while Lange and Lupton were both seriously injured.
He says he had a drinking problem that lead to the decision he made that morning.
While they were not in the courtroom today, Martinelly Montano says the other nuns have forgiven him for the death of Mosier. He says that mercy helped him fight off alcoholism and find religion in jail.
"I'm ready to take full responsibilty for my actions and I accept the consequences," he told the judge.
No one representing the nuns was present during today's sentencing.
Judge Lon Farris said he lowered the initial sentence after Martinelly Martinelly Montano read the statement professing his remorse.
Farris says the case is one of felony murder because Martinelly Montano was driving on a suspended license and that this was his third offense of DUI.
Also testifying on his behalf, Martinelly Montano's 16-year-old brother. Nicholas broke down and cried on the stand as he tried to describe his brother.
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I can't,” said Nichoas, but then told the judge that Carlos is a loving, caring person.
Martinelly Montano's mother, Maria Martinelly speaking through an interpreter said "he is very, very remorseful for what happened.”
The judge said Martinelly Montano's words made an impression on him, along with those of his mother and brother.
But the judge said this was his third DUI and he was driving on a suspended license--all critical to the outcome.
"Not only is there punishment to be meted out, but also society must be protected because there is very little guarantee you won't get in a car and do the same thing again,".
Martinelly Montano's family left in tears and without comment.
Defense attorneys say they do plan to file an appeal on the conviction for felony murder.
Lange earlier said that she spent three months recovering from her injuries. Lupton broke 14 bones and lost her thumb after the crash.
The nuns had been driving from Richmond to a convent in Prince William County when the accident happened. They later issued a statement saying that they forgave him.
Mosier's death prompted a wave of debate about enforcement of immigration laws. Martinelly Montano had twice before been convicted of drunken driving, but was released from custody while awaiting deportation to Bolivia.
Would you like to contribute to this story? Join the discussion.