Carlos Martinelly Sentenced to 20 Years in Car Crash That Killed Nun:

Carlos Martinelly was sentenced to 20 years in prison for his drunk driving accident (August 1, 2010)  that injured 2 nuns and killed a third.  Martinelly was also charged with felony murder. 

Wikipedia defines ‘felony murder’ as follows:

The rule of felony murder is a legal doctrine in some common law jurisdictions that broadens the crime of murder in two ways. First, when an offender kills accidentally or without specific intent to kill in the course of an applicable felony, what might have been manslaughter is escalated to murder. Second, it makes any participant in such a felony criminally liable for any deaths that occur during or in furtherance of that felony. While there is some debate about the original scope of the rule, modern interpretations typically require that the felony be an inherently dangerous one, or one committed in an obviously dangerous manner. For this reason, the felony murder rule is often justified by its supporters as a means of deterring dangerous felonies.

I keep thinking about this case being Corey Stewart’s launch pad into state politics.  For over a year we have heard about this case, day after day.  This case has been all over Fox News time after time, as some sort of landmark illegal immigrant case rather than a drunk driving case.  Martinelly was brought here illegally  as a child.  He had a green card.  He just didn’t have legal status.  He became the ‘nun killer.’ 

Meanwhile, another drunk driving case  was barely mentioned.  William John Mallory was sentenced to 20 years for the deaths of a grandmother and her toddler grandson.  17 years of that sentence  were suspended.  Mallory serves 3 years.

There is some inequity here.  I excuse no one nor am I attempting to excuse drunk driving. However, why is Martinelly serving all 20 years and why was he charged with murder?  I feel certain he didn’t get in his car that morning and decide to go mow down a car load of nuns in cold blood.  I feel certain William Mallory didn’t plan on killing a grandmother and her little grandson. 

Why is there so much disparity between these two cases?  Could it be that the Commonwealth Attorney’s office caved in because Martinelly was an illegal immigrant?  Could it be that killing nuns is worse than killing grandmothers? Judge Farris sentenced Martinelly to 20 years. 

 On the other hand,  Judge Johnston also ordered that  Mallory, who hit the family in 2009,   also has to serve 5 years probation and put a wreath on the graves of the deceased to remind him of what he did.  The family feels short-changed.  On the other hand, the Benedictine nuns said from the beginning that they wanted no retribution and they didn’t want the case to become political. 

Mallory did not receive national attention.  Martinelly did.  Stewart won’t catapult into a state election on the back of Mallory like he is trying to do over Martinelly.  I would just like to see similar cases treated equally. 


3 Thoughts to “Carlos Martinelly sentenced to 20 years”

  1. Ray Beverage

    You hit the nail on the head when it comes to drunk driving cases – or other crimes for that matter. How much media attention is made does influence action by government. I use the example of other crimes such as knife stabbings/assaults – GTS is the City focus because of the hysteria raised and public opinion, and yet, their crime level is not much different then across the City. In the case of assults, last month over in the townhomes behind Canterbury Village across from the hospital, there was a knife assault and yet no outcry about getting more police foot patrols, etc. No media attention, no action aside from the work of MCPD.

  2. Elena

    I wonder how many DUI drunk driving deaths in Virginia have similar sentences. It would be an interesting research endeavor.

  3. I did my share….I found out about William John Mallory. That DUI case happened a year before Matinelly. 20 years vs 3 years. That makes no sense.

    The judge wouldn’t have stood a chance trying to reduce Martinelly’s sentence. It would have been political suicide. Why? Because Corey Stewart had sensationalized the case nationally, in defiance of what the sisters wanted.

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