2 former soldiers sentenced to 3 years in prison for a deadly stabbing following a night of drinking

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Jessica and Jacqueline Wills said they wanted closure, just like the family of Brian Santos. Each wrote a letter to the court that their attorneys read accepting responsibility for his death.

"I will be forever sorry. I pray that Brian's mother will be able to find some closure, along with Brian's friends and other family members," said Jessica Wills' Attorney Michael Aed.

"I would like to apologize for my actions that night. Because of them, Brian is no longer with us," said Jacqueline Wills' Attorney Serita Rios.

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Brian's mother acknowledged Tuesday her son was not perfect but he was an honorable man whose absence is apparent every day.

"Brian served two tours overseas only to come home and to be killed by fellow soldiers. He made the mistake of believing you were his friend and his comrades," said victim's mother Caroline Lamelas.

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Brian's girlfriend, who was with him the night he died, recalled his last moments gasping for air. Despite the memories that still haunt her, she said she is forgiving the women who were once her friends.

"I know that Brian would wish you nothing but the best. And from this day forward, I wish you nothing but the best as well. You and your family. I pray for you guys," said victim's girlfriend Tessia Laulu.

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The couple cried several times during sentencing. They agreed to plead to voluntary manslaughter and a sentence of three years in prison. If they took it to trial, they could've ended up spending the rest of their lives locked up.

"They really had to make the determination as to whether they wanted twelve strangers to decide whether or not this was murder, which could expose them to life in prison," said Attorney Aed.

"We are hopeful that as they performed in the military being model service members, and receiving numerous commendations, they are gonna do the same thing in prison," said Attorney Rios.

The women have no prior criminal history. Both will serve their sentence in the Chowchilla Women's Prison.
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