BAKERSFIELD, CA - What began as Kern County's first fatal texting and driving trial, is now over. Anna Marie Reynosa is in jail, serving the sentence she received Thursday for misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter in the death of Charla Wilkins.
The judge's sentence was considered harsh for a misdemeanor. Reynosa was sentenced to three years supervised probation, 220 days in jail, 400 hours of community service, 100 of which must be with M.A.D.D., Mothers Against Drunk Driving, to discuss the dangers of distracted driving.
On April 14, 2012, Reynosa hit and killed Wilkins as Wilkins was on her motorcycle, stopped at a stop sign on Jewetta Avenue. Reynosa apologized to the Wilkins family before she was sentenced.
"I know an apology won't change the fact that she is gone. But, I do hope that one day you and your family can find it in your hearts to forgive me," said Reynosa.
Charla's mother, Barbara Wilkins, then told Reynosa she can't.
"Anna Marie, I want you to know I am searching deep into my heart looking for a way I can find forgiveness for you, and at this time, there is none," said Barbara Wilkins.
A jury found Reynosa ran a stop sign when she hit and killed Charla Wilkins. However, the jury did not find enough evidence Reynosa was texting or speeding at the time of the crash, which would have been a felony and a more severe sentence.
"I feel that the judge has done all that he could possibly do to the fullest extent. Could the jurors had made a different decision? Yes, considering the majority of the jurors were going for felony," said Shirley Griffin, Charla's aunt.
While Reynosa apologized repeatedly to the Wilkins family, they told her they considered it nothing but last minute lip service.
"You say now that you are sorry," said Barbara Wilkins to Reynosa. "Where was any of that during this trial when you were outside high-fiving?"
"She's shown zero remorse and I think that hurts a lot of us. Like, if she just would have shown a little bit of remorse, but the entire time she's shown... She didn't even cry when she just got handcuffed. I mean, what person wouldn't? That just shows the ignorance on her side," said Sarah Wilson, Charla's cousin.
Reynosa's attorney told the judge they will refuse the three-year supervised probation.
That would mean Reynosa would have to be re-sentenced, likely to more jail time, possibly a full year.
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