Visalia man sentenced for hit and run death of brother-in-law

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The South Valley man who killed his brother-in-law in a hit and run crash earlier this year (KFSN)

The South Valley man who killed his brother-in-law in a hit and run crash earlier this year was sentenced in a Visalia courtroom today.

It's a painful case that has split a family apart, because the defendant and victim are related.

On June 8th, Francisco Mayorga was crossing Walnut Avenue with his walker when he was hit by a truck.

The driver, his brother-in-law, didn't stop.

Mayorga died at the scene.

Secundino Villanueva turned himself into police later that day.

His lawyer says it was an accident and that his client, a construction worker, is deeply sorry.

"His early concern as a Catholic was he wanted to accept his responsibility," Nicholas Reyes said. "He said I'm guilty, and I want to accept my penance."

Prosecutors charged Villanueva with felony hit and run causing death, and two misdemeanors: vehicular manslaughter and driving without a license.

Tulare County Assistant District Attorney David Alavezos says they were pushing for a state prison sentence all along, taking into consideration a misdemeanor hit and run case from 2006 that resulted in property damage.

"The person had a prior record of doing the exact same thing," Alavezos said. "They didn't kill somebody the last time, but (they fled) the scene of an accident."

Villanueva plead to the charges and on Friday, Judge Brett Alldredge sentenced him to 365 days in jail and a three year suspended sentence?meaning if he violates the terms of his probation, he'll go to state prison.

But with credits earned, Villanueva will be out in a matter of months.

Mayorga's family members read letters expressing their disappointment with the result and the pain they've experienced since losing Francisco.

They say he was a great man who enjoyed life despite his struggles, and did not deserve to die so soon, in the way he did.

Related Topics:
visaliahit and runhit and run accidentVisaliaCalifornia
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