Jury hands down sentence in Miguel Vargas manslaughter trial

Vargas sentenced to 8 years on each count of intoxicated manslaughter

EL PASO, Texas - Update: 10/6/12

After nearly five hours of deliberating, a jury agreed on a sentence for Miguel Vargas.

Vargas was sentenced to 8 years on each count of intoxicated manslaughter and 10 years of probation on each count of intoxicated assault.

On Tuesday morning the judge will determine if he will serve the time concurrent or consecutive.

If he serves his sentence at the same time, Vargas could be released in less than 8 years.

If he serves the time consecutively, he'll spend close to 16 years in prison.

Vargas is will be given credit for the time he has already served.

As the sentence was read, Vargas did not show any emotion.

After the sentencing, ABC-7 spoke with Vargas' mother, Patricia Miranda, who said she expected a harsher punishment.

Miranda said she felt relieved and said she was  going to support her son.

She also offered an apology to the families of Kim Araujo and Idaly Reyes.

Araujo and Reyes were killed the morning of December 28, 2011. They were passengers in the car Vargas was driving.

Vargas had 8 beers and 6 drinks before getting into the car and racing down Mesa.

Two other passengers were in the car, Nefi Armendariz and Stacy Reyes, survived.

Previous story: 10/5/12

Friday morning Miguel Vargas was the last witness called to the stand by defense attorney Thomas Wright.

Vargas told the panel of jurors he should be given a probation sentence for his punishment. Along with stating he would never drink again, Vargas pledge to follow a probation sentence.

"I know I'm gonna do it. This is not a DWI or public intoxication, this is something worse," said Vargas.

He apologized to the families of Kim Araujo and Idaly Reyes. The two women died at the scene of the fiery crash on December 28, 2011.

Vargas went on to say he never meant to hurt anyone.

"I wish I was the one that was dead instead of Kimberly and Idaly," said Vargas.

In his closing arguments, defense attorney Thomas Wright described Vargas as a hard-working man and productive citizen with a good job.

Wright said Vargas has spent nine months in jail and that is enough time for him to realize that he does not want to go to prison.

Wright asked the jury for 10 years of probation.

During questioning from the prosecuting lawyers, Vargas was asked if he thought the lives of Araujo and Reyes were worth a probation sentence.

Vargas answered no, but maintained that he deserves probation because he didn't kill the two women.

"I didn't take their lives, it was an accident," said Vargas.

It was that statement that District Attorney Dolores Reyes mentioned in her closing arguments.

Reyes said Vargas has not showed any humanity to the victims, including Nefi Armendariz, who survived the horrific wreck.

Armendariz testified Wednesday and said Vargas deserves the probation.

"Nefi has showed more humanity to him (Vargas) than Vargas did to Nefi the night of the wreck," said Reyes.

Vargas also told the courtroom Araujo and Reyes had a choice that December night to get into the car with him, even after he had been drinking.

Vargas admitted the wreck was preventable.

"Everyone makes bad decisions," said Vargas.

The prosecutor ended by telling jurors they are the voice of the community, that tells it the worth of two young lives lost.

"It is a tough job, I'm sorry, but you can do it. You can do the right thing," said District Attorney Reyes.

The jury started deliberating about 2:15 Friday afternoon.

Vargas could face up to 60 years in prison.

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