A judge gives a driver 18 months for the July 2009 death of an Ewa Beach man
POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Aug 25, 2010
A 27-year-old single mother from Makakilo made a teary-eyed apology in Circuit Court yesterday to the friends and family of a man she killed while driving drunk last year.
But the family members of victim Norbert Dean Galban -- a 52-year-old grandfather from Ewa Beach -- said they are not ready to forgive and called the sentencing too lenient.
"I'm not at the point to feel sorry," said Debbie Young, the victim's sister. "We really wanted the (maximum sentence), but we're happy that she didn't just get probation."
Kristin Maile Mancao was sentenced by Circuit Court Judge Karen Ahn yesterday to 18 months in prison and 10 years' probation for manslaughter. She pleaded no contest in June to charges stemming from a fatal traffic collision that claimed Galban's life last year. Mancao faced a maximum of 20 years in prison.
After weighing testimony from family and friends of both the victim and defendant, Ahn said the 20-year prison sentence was too harsh for Mancao, who had no prior record of drunken driving or speeding. Ahn noted that Mancao enrolled herself in an alcohol treatment program immediately after the crash and made the unusual move of pleading no contest without a plea agreement as a way to make up for what she did.
Her defense attorney, Marcus Sierra, said Mancao did not demand a trial because she wanted to spare her family and her victim's family the emotional stress of a prolonged case.
"Mancao is a defendant who took responsibility quickly," Ahn said. "Her history and characteristics cut in favor of mercy, but that's not to say that I don't understand that someone is dead here."
Galban, also known as Dean Norbert Gomes, died on July 25, 2009, after Mancao ran a red light and plowed her sport utility vehicle into his car as he made a left turn at Kapolei Parkway and Fort Barrette Road in Kapolei. According to police, Mancao had a blood alcohol level of 0.16, double the legal limit, and was driving 70 mph in a 30 mph zone.
Mancao was arrested at the crash scene, and her license was immediately revoked. In May she pleaded no contest to manslaughter but was let go on supervised release without having to post $50,000 bail. Because Mancao did not serve any time prior to yesterday's hearing, she will be required to serve the full 18-month sentence.
Family members and friends who testified before the court yesterday described Galban as a loving father and grandfather whose loss has devastated his family. Galban had a 1-year-old grandson and two children, who both asked Ahn to impose the maximum sentence.
"I don't want my father to be another DUI statistic fatality," said Galban's daughter, Misty Toivonen. "I'm just asking for justice for my dad."
A sobbing Mancao addressed Galban's family with an emotional plea for forgiveness. Mancao said she has sworn off alcohol and has dedicated herself to caring for her 6-year-old son.
"I know that this is something that I have to live with for the rest of my life," Mancao said. "It kills me inside. I wish I could bring him back."
Ahn said she hopes the case will raise awareness of the dangers of drunken driving and prevent future deaths.
"We have all seen once again how destructive partying and driving can be," she said. "If everyone goes out there and contributes to controlling that problem, then something good will come from this."