Thursday, April 2
A 55-year-old Wichita man with a history of driving drunk was sentenced today for the deaths of a woman and her young daughter outside Gardner elementary last year.
A judge sentenced Gary Hammitt to 38 years in prison plus one year in jail.
Hammitt apologized to the family of Claudia and Gisele Mijares on Thursday morning. He also criticized news reporters in the courtroom, accusing them of exploiting the Mijares family's suffering.
Members of the Mijares family spoke in open court. They thanked the public for support during the last few months. Daisey Mijares, Claudia's older daughter, said she hopes the deaths of her mother and sister - as well as Hammit's fate - will serve as a lesson to others never to drink and drive.
Hammitt pleaded guilty in February to two counts of second-degree murder and other charges related to the October deaths of Claudia Mijares and her 4-year-old daughter Gisele.
Prosecutors say Hammitt's blood alcohol level was six times the legal limit the day he struck and killed Claudia and her daughter outside Gardiner Elementary in south Wichita. A passenger in Hammitt's car was also injured, but not charged in the case.
The judge noted on Thursday Hammitt's level of intoxication the day of the crash could be lethal to somebody with less tolerance.
Hammitt has admitted he is an alcoholic. He said he doesn't remember the accident but does remember drinking heavily as early as 9:30 that morning.
He said he downed a full pint of vodka and several beers shortly before the crash.