Sentencing hearing continues in fatal hit-and-run crash

Carlos Bertonatti pleaded guilty to DUI manslaughter in Christophe LeCanne's death


MIAMI – The sister of a man set to be sentenced for killing a bicyclist on the Bear Cut Bridge in Key Biscayne asked a judge for leniency Tuesday.

"He's always willing to get in the middle of all our issues," said Carlos Bertonatti's sister, Daniela.

In February, Carlos Bertonatti, 32, pleaded guilty to DUI manslaughter, fleeing and eluding, and resisting arrest without violence in Christophe LeCanne's death.

"Every moment that he's in there, every day that he's in there is extra," said Daniela Bertonatti. "He's come to terms with what has happened. He's feels absolutely guilty."

"I believe he truly has learned his lesson," added Bertonatti's civil attorney, Devang Desai.

Jorge Meija, a music producer of Sony Publishing who signed Bertonatti, also testified.

"Are you asking if I think Carlos still has potential of being a songwriter and an artist?" he asked on the stand. "Yes, absolutely."

For every glowing report about Bertonatti -- his remorse, his potential -- prosecutor Warren Eth probed for an agenda.

"He's a cash cow?" Eth asked Mejia. "He's in the red? He needs to get out to make money for you?"

"Yes," said Mejia.

Police say Bertonatti hit LeCanne on Jan. 17, 2010 when his blood alcohol content was .122, well over Florida's legal limit of 0.08.

Miguel Bertonatti, Carlos' brother, was set to testify that Carlos' lengthy traffic record was actually his while he drove with Carlos' license that he stole -- until the judge advised him to get an attorney.

"I have advised him to invoke his Fifth Amendment privilege," said Stuart Edelstein, Miguel Bertonatti's attorney.

Bertonatti faces up to 37 years in prison. The sentencing hearing continues Wednesday.

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