The pain of this tragic and unnecessary death will surely linger for as long as any family member lives. The woman killed, Leeanna Newman, was only 20 years old and was 8 months pregnant. Her 21-month-old daughter Mallory, received minor injuries in the crash. Leeanna's adult life was just beginning.
An illegal immigrant who was found guilty of second-degree murder in the February wreck involving a pregnant woman will serve a minimum of 25 years in jail, the maximum sentence for his crimes.
Rigo Verto Guillen-Martinez, 34, showed no emotion Thursday as the sentence was handed down.
Nine of Leeanna Newman's family members spoke before sentencing and plead for the maximum.
"The only person I ever said 'I love you' to and meant it, you have taken from me," said Brad Newman, Leeanna's widower. "When I come home from work, it's empty. There's nothing there for me." [Drunk-driver sentenced to 25 years in pregnant woman's death, Kannapolis Independent Tribune 9/21/07]
The young family was just starting out in life, looking forward to the new baby and getting settled in a new home. They had a bright future ahead, until an illegal alien destroyed it.
Leeanna Newman loved being a mother.
She and her husband, Brad, were excited about having their second child, a sister for 21-month-old Mallory, Leeanna's sister, Tiea LeMasters, said Wednesday.
The young family had recently settled into a house on China Grove Road. Brad had just started a new job, and Leeanna was a stay-at-home mom. It's what she wanted to be, her sister said.
"They were getting ready and planning baby showers and stuff," LeMasters said. "She was just committed to raising Mallory and getting ready for this new baby and that's what her whole life was about right now." [Family struggling with grief after fatal accident in Landis Salisbury Post 2/08/07]
The killer has at least six aliases and prior arrests. He was deported twice before. His blood alcohol level at the time of the wreck was .27, three times higher than the North Carolina legal limit of .08. He told paramedics after the crash that he had drunk 20 beers prior to driving his car. Martinez was so drunk he didnâ€™t realize his leg was broken in two places. He had a job as as a painter in the area â€“ apparently one of Bushâ€™s â€?willing workers.â€?