Judge withdraws plea deal for woman charged in crash that seriously injured Javier Perez
Defendant accepted deal that would have sentenced her to 4 years in prison
MIAMI – A South Florida woman accepted a plea deal Friday for a DUI crash that seriously injured the principal of South Dade Senior High School.
However, Miami-Dade County Judge Diane Ward withdrew the plea deal. Marilyn Aguilera's trial has been set to begin Dec. 11.
The judge initially didn't sign off on the deal because of concern about medication that Aguilera said she took in the morning.
As part of the deal, Aguilera would have pleaded guilty to three counts of DUI and would have been sentenced to four years in prison.
She would also have been sentenced to a year of house arrest following her release and two years of probation.
The high school principal, Javier Perez, lost both his legs in the April 26, 2016, crash and another man, Elias Espinoza, was also injured.
Police said Aguilera was driving drunk when she struck the victims at a children's baseball game at a West Kendall park.
Authorities said Aguilera remained at the scene after the crash.
Aguilera hired a new attorney this week, who told reporters that she is a childhood friend of the defendant and that she has agreed to represent her pro bono.
"This is unusual because she couldn't pay her other lawyer," Ana Davide said after a hearing on Monday. "Because she's unemployed, she's a single mom and has no money."
Aguilera told the judge Friday that she took medication in the morning and Ward questioned her about the side effects of the drugs.
When asked after the hearing whether Davide would have known that Aguilera's state of mind would be questioned knowing that her client took medication, Davide said she was not in a position to advise her client about what medicine to take.
"I would never have advised her, I'm not a doctor. I'm a criminal defense attorney. That's not my job," Davide said. "Unfortunately, today was a disaster. You know, she's a mess and there's no excuse for this behavior at all."
The judge admonished Aguilera earlier in court, telling her to "act like a grownup" and to raise her right hand after she was hours-late to her hearing.
Ward withdrew the plea deal after asking Aguilera whether she was OK with her representation and Aguilera began talking about the faults of her former attorney. At one point she also asked about leaving prison early.
The judge and prosecutor Laura Adams both appeared to become agitated by Aguilera's statements in court.
"Ms. Aguilera does not have to accept this plea," Adams said. "No. I just think we have to give it a trial date. I am not interested in negotiating with a person that wants to do what she is doing."
Adams said the plea deal was a below-guidelines offer because the victims wanted closure and offered compassion.
"They're people that want closure to this very painful chapter in their lives," Adams said.
Prosecutors said they will not offer Aguilera another plea deal before her trial.
Perez left the courthouse without speaking to reporters.
If convicted, Aguilera faces up to seven years in prison.
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