Friday, August 2, 2013
A Texas woman who killed two people and injured a third during a June 2012 DUI crash has been sentenced to 38 years in prison.
Nicole Baukus had pleaded guilty to two counts of intoxication manslaughter and one count of intoxication assault after video played in court of her apparently intoxicated at a bar before driving home. On Friday, the jury handed down two 15-year sentences on the former charges and an 8-year sentence for the latter one. A judge has yet to decide whether she will serve the sentences consecutively.
Earlier in the day, there was emotional testimony in the courtroom, most of it coming from the defense.
In fact, Baukus' father began testifying and talking about his daughter, at one point saying, "I'm just happy she's alive. She should be dead too and I can't imagine how the victims' families feel."
Then Baukus herself took the stand, saying, "I don't deserve to be here. I should have died in that crash. I deserve to be in jail. I feel terrible."
The accident happened a little over a year ago in the early morning hours of June 29, 2012, when Baukus now admits that she got behind the wheel of her pickup truck drunk after having consumed more than 20 drinks in a four-hour period at a local bar.
She got onto I-45 traveling the wrong way and crashed into another vehicle, killing Nicole Adams, 19, and Travis Ryan Saunders, 18. A third person, David Francisco Porras, 22, was injured. She says has no memory of the wreck at all.
Baukus surprised everyone by pleading guilty after initially having claimed for a year that she must have been drugged while consuming those drinks and that's what caused her impairment and the wreck.
After pleading guilty, the case immediately moved to the punishment phase.
Baukus faced 50 years in prison -- 20 years for each count of intoxication manslaughter and another 10 years for intoxication
Before coming back with their verdict, jurors had two questions: One asking who gets to decide how the sentences are served, and the other asking who gets the money from the fine, which is the state.