Woman sentenced to 5 years in prison for 2013 fatal DUI crash
'They are a part of me,' Alyza Russell says of men she struck with Porsche
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A South Florida woman expressed remorse Friday as she was sentenced to five years in prison for a 2013 crash that killed two men.
Alyza Russell cried on the witness stand as she took responsibility for her actions during her sentencing hearing.
"I remember that morning, when the reality of what happened finally began to settle in, and I was screaming, 'Oh God, what have I done?' And for a long time, I wanted to die, too," Russell said.
Russell admitted that she was drunk and behind the wheel of her mother's Porsche when she struck and killed Mackendy Jules and Samuel Martindale in Fort Lauderdale.
A Broward County judge sentenced her to five years in prison and five years of probation under the terms of a plea deal.
Jules' father asked the judge for a five-year prison sentence for Russell.
"There is a mark on my heart," Jean Jules testified. "That mark, I don't think it will ever heal."
Gwendolyn Daniel, Martindale's mother, asked that Russell serve 10 years, still only half of what she could have faced if convicted by a jury.
"I want justice for my son," Daniel testified.
David Russell said he "readily admits to having driven drunk in the past … one who readily identifies that the only difference between him and his little sister is luck, not virtue."
Alyza Russell's older brother told the court that his sister and their family are now committed to getting the message of the dangers of drunken driving out to young people.
"The cold hard truth of the matter is that Mr. Jules and Mr. Martindale died because I was shallow and lonely and insecure," Alyza Russell said.
Ultimately, the judge believed that she was remorseful and rehabilitative.
"I will never look in the mirror and not see the girl who killed Mackendy Jules and Samuel Martindale," Alyza Russell said. "They are a part of me."
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