FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --A jury convicted Angelito Romero of murder last month and on Wednesday, a judge decided what punishment he deserved.
Romero's freedom ended the night he killed his girlfriend by driving drunk. Romero had a .15 blood alcohol content when he drove off Highway 99 and hit a tree-- killing Jennifer Starr.
Romero lived, but because he had three previous drunk driving convictions, Starr's death is a murder on his hands. His daughter's plea for leniency Wednesday brought him to tears.
"He's not perfect, and he never will be, but please allow him to prove to our community what kind of person he truly is and can be," said Diana Flores, convicted killer's daughter.
Romero will serve 15 to life in prison, but the 49-year-old has a chance to go home eventually. He'll see his daughter again. Though Starr's daughters will never see their mother again.
"Our lives will never be the same, all because of one person and his belief that he can do whatever he wants without consequences," said Julie Lucas, aunt of Jordan Starr.
Starr's sisters and children said her death was just a culmination of Romero's attempts to separate her from them. They said he abused her and kept them all living in fear.
"Silas, my nephew who had just turned 10 two days before his mother was murdered, was also beaten ruthlessly by this monster. There was an open investigation and pending CPS report against him for physical abuse to Silas," said Lucas.
Judge Gary Hoff interrupted Lucas' descriptions of abuse a couple times because it's not related to the murder case. But the family wanted it out in the open, shining a bright light on Romero's faults. He did, after all, try to blame Starr for her own death.
At trial, he said she jerked the steering wheel and caused the crash-- even though he never mentioned anything like that in conversations with a paramedic, a firefighter, and a CHP officer at the scene.
Lucas said she's determined to show up any time he's considered for parole.
"And I don't care if I have to be in a wheelchair to do it. I will be there so that you don't ever get out."
Their first showdown could come as soon as 2025