Man Sentenced for Deadly Easter Crash

July 9, 2008 7:14:54 PM PDT
Stephen Watson will spend 15 years to life in prison. Watson admitted he drove drunk in March and slammed into a car killing 4-year-old Elias Pico. Watson apologized to the family-an apology the family said came too late. Elias Pico would have stated preschool this coming year. But the tragic Easter Sunday crash killed the boy and left his mother Melissa Riddle with many questions. Riddle said, "Why did you have to drive that day? Why did you take him from us? He was a good boy and we love him." She was addressing Stephen Watson in court. A judge asked us not to show Watson's face. Investigators said the defendant slammed his white truck into a small sedan. Inside the car, Elias suffered fatal injuries even though he was buckled in a child safety seat. Elias' mother and father were both in the car and on Wednesday they both faced their boy's killer. The boy's father Anthony Pico said, "I wasn't going to forgive this man but you know what as I moved on ... It's not right for me to judge someone else. I forgive the man."

A memorial marks the spot where the boy died and the cars crashed into a wall. At that time, Watson had a .31 blood alcohol level. That is nearly 4 times more than the legal limit. Watson also has a prior conviction for driving drunk. His defense attorney David Mugridge said the man has an alcohol addiction problem and is very sorry. Mugridge said, "When we left the court just after the sentencing, his own comments to me were that he wanted to die and he wished they gave him death penalty 'cause he feels very badly about what happened."

Watson is now serving 15-years to life in prison for killing a boy who barely experienced childhood. Riddle said, "He didn't even have the chance to go to school or grow up because you took that from him ... Why?"

Watson never spoke in court. He wrote a letter to the judge and said he will never drink alcohol again. He plead no contest to vehicular manslaughter in exchange two other charges were dropped.
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