MIAMI – The Miami-Dade judge who will decide the fate of drunk driving killer Carlos Bertonatti heard vastly different sentencing recommendations from Bertonatti's attorney and prosecutors, and also vastly different perspectives on him.
"Carlos is a wonderful human being who made a tragic mistake that he will carry with him for as long as he lives," said his attorney Robert Pertierre.
"Not one iota of remorse," countered Assistant State Attorney Warren Eth. "He showed contempt for the entire legal process. Mr. Bertonatti thinks he is above the law. He will do whatever it takes to protect himself."
Remorse is an important factor in the sentencing decision. Throughout the 3-day hearing, Bertonatti's attorney tried to show the aspiring musician as a remorseful, changed man devoted to making whole the family of cyclist Christophe LeCanne, whom he killed in a drunken speeding crash on the Rickenbacker Causeway three years ago.
The state is asking for an 18-year prison sentence, about half the legal maximum, recalling that Bertonatti drove away, never looked back at LeCanne, despite a crushed windshield, dragging the mangled bicycle, eventually fighting officers drawing his blood to test.
"The State Attorney has turned him into some sort of pariah; it boggles my min," said Pertierre, who asked the judge to impose the legal minimum sentence, four years in prison, including the 27 months Bertonatti has already served.
Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Bronwyn Miller is scheduled to impose the sentence Thursday morning.
Local10.com Web Extra: 2013 Fla. Statutes for DUI penalties