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Trujillo given 48 years, Snell 90 days

9:22 PM, Oct 2, 2007   |    comments
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The judge gave 36-year-old Lawrence Trujillo 48 years in prison and gave 36-year-old Eric Snell a suspended sentence.

Trujillo faced up to 174 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to several charges, which included vehicular homicide and child abuse resulting in death.

He entered the pleas in July, telling the court he wanted to spare the victims' family and his own family from having to go through a trial.

Prosecutors say he was drunk behind the wheel of a pickup truck speeding through downtown Denver on November 10, 2006 when he hit and killed three members of the Bingham family. The mother, 39-year-old Becca, and her two children, 4-year-old Macie and 2-year-old Garrison, were killed. Frank Bingham, the husband and father, was injured.

Frank Bingham told the judge before the sentencing, "This heartbreak is like having 1,000 dreams stolen all in one instant."

"This accident took a family that was so whole and complete and destroyed it forever," said Bingham. "A light sentence would dishonor the lives of three special people. It would cheat the eyewitnesses who were so deeply impacted and the community whose lives were also touched by this tragedy."

Trujillo also spoke before the court.

"I respect whatever the judge decides. I understand the magnitude of this tragedy and what I have done," he said. "There's not a day goes by that I don't think about what I have done."

Trujillo's attorney, Rob Bernhardt, said during the hearing, "Mr. Trujillo deserves the opportunity to come back into society someday."

However, Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey asked the judge to sentence Trujillo to 90 years in prison.

With the 48-year sentence, Trujillo could get paroled after 33 years. He would then be 69 years old.

Snell pleaded guilty in March to one count of driving under the influence and three counts of being an accessory to a crime in a vehicular homicide case.

He was given a suspended sentence of six years, so that means if he breaks probation he will go right to jail. He is also on five years of probation.

Snell must still serve 90 days in jail. He got the suspended sentence because he had agreed to testify against Trujillo at a trial.

Bernhardt said the disparity between the sentencing of Snell and Trujillo was grossly unfair.

Outside the courtroom, Morrissey said he was not satisfied with Trujillo's sentence.

"I asked for a 90-year sentence, I would have been satisfied with that. Three people were killed - I thought that was what was an appropriate sentence," said Morrissey. "In court they kept talking about the Bingham family. There is no more Bingham family. The Bingham family died that day on the street."

During the hearing, Becca Bingham's sisters, Sarah McMullen and Janna Beall also spoke before the judge.

"The horrific decisions and actions killed three special people. The void left won't disappear with time," Beall said.

Earlier in the hearing, Trujillo's aunt, Tutie Deaser, gave a statement on his behalf.

"He's the type of person always there for any member of our family. Always there for anybody who needed anything," she said. "(We) don't know the Binghams, but want them to know that what happened is something that will haunt Larry for the rest of his life and our hearts and prayers always go out to the family."

Trujillo's longtime friend Van Albrecht also spoke at the hearing.

"This tragedy has taught us all a valuable and harsh lesson about the reality of drinking and driving. That lesson will be with us the rest of our lives," he said. "I pray you (judge) will see his family suffering too. He feels terrible about his actions and would take it back if he could."

(The Associated Press contributed to this report. Copyright KUSA*TV. All rights reserved.)

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