Lufkin, Texas — Tears were shed on both sides of the courtroom Thursday afternoon as a husband watched his wife's killer brought to justice and a mother watched her son sentenced to 18 years in prison - all because of drunk driving.
As Leobardo Nieves, 20, walked into Judge Barry Bryan's courtroom to accept a plea bargain Thursday, he kept his head down, avoiding eye contact with his own family and the family of 45-year-old Connie McKay. McKay, a wife, mother of two and Corrigan-Camden teacher, was killed January 29 when Nieves drunkenly ran a red light at Lotus Lane and Loop 287, plowing his vehicle into hers. Her teenage daughter was taken to a local hospital after being thrown from the vehicle. Nieves tried to flee the scene after the accident but was caught by Lufkin Police.
One person who entered the courtroom Thursday afternoon commented it was "so quiet you could hear a pin drop," as both families waited for the judge. In addition to 18 years for intoxication manslaughter, he received 10 years on a charge of intoxication assault for injuries McKay's daughter suffered in the accident.
With the sentence read, Angelina County District Attorney Clyde Herrington gave the floor to McKay's husband. With tear-filled eyes, Kevin McKay then addressed Nieves directly in what is known as a victim's impact statement.