Family members and survivors testify in Manual Vargas sentencing trial
POSTED: Thursday, October 4, 2012 - 6:36pm
UPDATED: Friday, October 5, 2012 - 2:46pm
EL PASO — Family members and survivors of the accident took the stand as the sentencing phase begins for Miguel Vargas. Eleven witness took the stand today during sentencing, including three police officers who testified about Vargas' previous arrest for drunk driving in 2010 and two other run-ins with the law.
The state also called many family members to testify, including Martha Araujo, the mother of deceased Kim Araujo. In tears from the start, she told the court how her life had changed since Kim's death. Kim left behind her two year old daughter. Martha Araujo said she has a very large void in her life. She now tells her granddaughter when they look up in the sky at night, Kim is one of those stars. And then the father of Kim's daughter, Jesus Luna took the stand and the prosecution showed pictures of the two together. He says he has to explain to his daughter why Kim's cremated ashes are in a box at their home.
Next Stacy Reyes, one of the survivors of the deadly accident and sister of deceased Idaly Reyes, took the stand. She told the court how she misses her sister, her best friend. Stacy still has a visible scar on her neck from the accident. It took her two months of rehab to walk again. Stacy and Idaly's mother Elsa Reyes took the stand next and shared how she went into labor early and gave birth with complications after she found out about her daughters' accident.
Most witnesses told the court Vargas should receive the maximum sentence, but there were a few who said probation is a harsh enough punishment. Nefi Armendariz,one of the survivors, was one of those. After seeing the pictures of the accident for the first time, he testified that he thinks Vargas is still a good person. Vargas showed no emotion for the majority of the trial, even when his mother took the stand.