OAKLAND — After lamenting the difficulty of his decision, an Alameda County judge sentenced a man to one year in prison for a man who pleaded no contest to manslaughter for running over and killing his girlfriend during a heated argument outside their home in San Leandro.
Kevin Valasco, 32, of Antioquia, was sentenced to one year in prison, two years probation and various fines and fees. Judge Thomas Nixon ordered Valasco to surrender to St Rita Jail in Dublin by 5pm on Monday, court records show.
Valasco pleaded not guilty to manslaughter with no sentencing agreement in place. Nixon had the option of sentencing him to up to three years in prison or no prison. He was arrested after the accident, spent 17 days in jail and has since been released on $70,000 bail, records show.
The sentence was handed down on January 31, just one day before the six-year anniversary of the death of Adriana “Drina” Roybal, Valasco’s girlfriend. Authorities say the two argued inside their San Leandro home for several hours, and that Roybal jumped into Valasco’s red BMW as she tried to leave. But what convinced Nixon to impose a prison sentence, he said, was that he believed Valasco should have tried to make sure Roybal wasn’t in the BMW’s path before he left.
“This was not an accident. An accident is something unexpected that happens,” Nixon said, according to the Jan. 31 hearing transcript. confident that none of that would have happened.”
Before Nixon imposed a sentence, Roybal’s sister and niece gave emotional statements to the court, in which they shared memories of Roybal and described their difficult ways to forgive Valasco for what he did.
“Kevin please know we don’t hate you. We forgive you,” Roybal’s sister told the court. But she encouraged him to: “Cherish the second chance that God has given you, because not everyone has the blessing of escaping the condemnation of justice and you are getting a second chance. Cherish. LOVE your family. Show love.”
Family members described Roybal as a caring person who loved fashion and won awards for her work as a makeup artist. Roybal’s niece said that she also forgives Valasco, but that it’s not fair that her aunt is dead while Valasco has remained free for most of the last six years.
“We all miss her very much. She was literally like my other mother,” said Roybal’s niece.
Valasco’s lawyer, Annie Beles, told the court that Valasco did not know Roybal was in the car’s path when he stepped on the accelerator, but said the tragedy impacted him greatly. She argued that sending Valasco to a cell would not improve the situation.
“He had a really hard time processing that emotionally. He is sorry,” said Beles.
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