On Monday, a Colorado judge scheduled a resentencing hearing for a truck driver who was given a 110-year sentence earlier this month for an April 2019 accident that killed four people.
District Court Judge Bruce Jones scheduled the hearing for January 13, 2022. At that time, First Judicial District Attorney Alexis King is expected to ask the court to lower Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos’ sentence to 20 to 30 years, according to Colorado Newsline.
During Monday’s virtual hearing, Judge Jones expressed apprehension about scheduling a resentencing hearing before Aguilera-Mederos’ case is formally appealed. The judge noted that Aguilera-Mederos, 26, has 149 days to appeal his sentence, and that has not happened yet.
“The idea of me prospectively modifying a sentence and then the case being up on appeal is troubling to me,” he stated.
Cuban immigrant Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos said he was "working for a better future for my family." Sad, tragic case all the way around. pic.twitter.com/fnUOtnrXPg
— Joseph Morris (@JosephMorrisYT) December 16, 2021
According to Newsline, Judge Jones asked Aguilera-Mederos’ legal team to submit a memo outlining what they would like regarding a new sentence. He also requested Aguilera-Mederos be in attendance for next month’s resentencing hearing, which will be held in person in Jefferson County.
“This was not an accident, Judge,” King began saying before the judge interjected to say that she can offer her standpoint in a press release.
“This is a scheduling hearing,” Judge Jones said. “That sort of stuff that you’re saying is exactly the sort of stuff that you ought to be saying with [Aguilera-Menderos present].”
The judge also mentioned that the victims can testify during the resentencing hearing, but they are not required to do so.
In April 2019, Aguilera-Mederos was driving a semi-truck on Interstate 70 in Lakewood when his breaks failed, causing a 28-car pileup that killed Miguel Angel Lamas Arellano, 24, William Bailey, 67, Doyle Harrison, 61, and Stanley Politano, 69.
Aguilera-Mederos said he “lost his brakes,” causing him to lose control of his semi-truck before passing a runaway truck ramp as he descended from a mountainous region on the interstate. In October, he was convicted of vehicular homicide, first-degree assault, attempted first-degree assault, careless driving causing death, vehicular assault, and reckless driving.
During a December 12 sentencing hearing, Judge told Aguilera-Mederos that state sentencing guidelines meant he had to hand down the consecutive sentences — despite Aguilera-Mederos having no prior criminal history and being 23 at the time of the wreck.
Judge Jones, who expressed displeasure about the 110-year sentence, said it could be changed at a later date if Aguilera-Mederos requests a review.
First Judicial District Attorney Pete Weir filed the criminal charges that led to Aguilera-Mederos’ 110-year sentence. King, his successor who tried the case, alleged that Aguilera-Mederos refused any plea deal that did not amount to a traffic ticket, leading the case to go to trial.
Colorado Westword reported that prosecutors and Aguilera-Mederos’ attorneys are required to submit their briefs regarding resentencing by January 10.
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[Featured image: Rogel Aguilera-Mederos/KDVR video screengrab]