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Tuesday, October 9, 2012 - 8:02pm
EL PASO — A man who drove drunk and caused a crash that killed two people and injured two others will spend the next 16 years of his life in prison.
A judge handed down the sentence for Miguel Vargas in front of an emotional courtroom on Tuesday.
Family members of 23-year-old Kim Araujo and 19-year-old Idaly Reyes sat in the courtroom with tears in their eyes as a judge announced Miguel Vargas' punishment for their deaths.
Vargas was found guilty of driving drunk and causing a car wreck last December that killed Araujo and Reyes.
Last week, a jury sentenced Vargas to eight years each for two counts of intoxication manslaughter and 10 years probation for two counts of intoxication assault.
Judge Bill Hicks decided Vargas would serve his jail time consecutively.
"We're very pleased the judge has imposed the sentence consecutively. We were very pleased and we're very pleased that the jury put so much thought into their decision. It was a hard case for the jury," said Assistant District Attorney Dolores Reyes.
"I was disappointed in that. I think that for an unintentional crime that 16 years is actually too long and eight years would have been about right," said defense attorney Tom Wright.
Vargas showed no emotion most of the hearing.
"He has shown little emotion throughout the trial and I think that's because he's been sitting in jail for 9 months and probably already went through the emotional stages in the first two months and he's just drained at this point,” said Wright.
Family members closest to the two victims then took the stand talking directly to Vargas.
"It has been a very emotional case," said Reyes. "We had three families that were deeply affected all to different levels."
Araujo's brother-in-law was the last to speak. He told Vargas, "You have sentenced both families to a lifetime of suffering and pain."
He then played a song that reminded him of Kim called "Sissy's Song" by Alan Jackson.
After the hearing, Vargas was allowed a few minutes to tell his family goodbye.
Vargas' attorney said he has not decided yet if he will appeal the judge's decision.