Posted: Oct 4, 2012 6:14 PM by Rachel Cole - email@example.com
Updated: Oct 4, 2012 8:40 PM
CORPUS CHRISTI -- A man who once faced intoxication manslaughter charges for a hit and run accident walked free Thursday after pleading guilty to a lesser charge. The victim's sister, Loye Rice, said the punishment doesn't fit the crime.
"I feel failed by the justice system, I don't feel like they're putting any value on my brother's life and it's not fair," Rice said.
Her brother, Leon Rice, 54, took his last breaths on the 1500 block of Winnebago in June of last year. Police on the scene said that Richard James, 56, was the drunk driver responsible for hitting and killing Leon.
James was facing intoxication manslaughter charges until those charges were dropped Thursday morning.
"The prosecutor told me that he didn't intentionally run him over, he didn't intentionally kill him, of course he didn't he was drunk," Rice said.
Rice believes the proof that James did it was at the scene where the accident happened.
"He ran him over and drug him, there was DNA on the truck. They found him he was drunk he confessed, so what lack of evidence was there," Rice said.
Prosecutors say there wasn't enough evidence to support the intoxication manslaughter charges, however, James did plead guilty to the lesser charge of DWI.
"Community service is not punishment for someone's life," Rice said.
James attorney said, he received a strict punishment for a DWI charge. James will serve 2 years probation with conditions. Including wearing an ankle tracking device, installing an ignition interlock in his car and doing one hundred hours of community service.
"I myself and my entire family are very upset," Rice said.
She said, the outcome was difficult for her and her family to accept but they do forgive the man that took Leon's life.
"I have no animosity towards him, nothing like that because I don't feel like he did that purposely," Rice said.
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